I love quilts. I love seeing them at the county fair or in gift shops where they are usually incorporated into a beautiful display. I love the intricate patterns and beautiful colors. I can imagine the time, patience, and love that are required to put a quilt together. I can imagine the comfort that quilts bring when they are used to soothe a baby, help a child fall asleep, or bring back memories to the mind of an aging loved one.
As you may know, there are many different kinds of quilts. There are names of different patterns and styles, some of which harken back to a particular era of history. But there is one type of quilt that is very unique and doesn’t seem to fit any pattern, style, or era: the CRAZY QUILT!
Crazy quilts are made up of patches of random sizes, shapes, colors, and fabrics. I’ve seen some crazy quilts that are very beautiful; even though they appear to be random, there seems to be some thought that has gone into their design. I’ve also seen some others that, well, I don’t think would bring much comfort to the one who may have to use it. The colors may be dark and almost depressing; some are almost garish … a mismatch of colors and threads that certainly wouldn’t bring me any comfort.
However, there is another definition of “crazy quilt” that I thought was interesting: a crazy quilt can be used to describe a “disorganized collection of things.”
Couldn’t the term “crazy quilt” be used to describe the Church, or some churches we know, or maybe even your church? I mean, what was God thinking, bringing people of all different colors, backgrounds, upbringing, and temperaments—varying sizes, shapes, colors, and fabrics—together into one body?
And there’s Paul, exhorting us to love one another Colossians 2:2 (NLT): “I want them to be encouraged and knit together (or united) by strong ties of love.” Is this even possible?
Yes, yes, it IS! We are called as followers of Christ to live in unity, even though, as a body, we have many parts. We probably all know the I Corinthians 12 passage where Paul talks about the body of Christ—the Church. Just as our individual physical bodies are made up of different parts—the hand, the eyes, the feet, etc.—God has placed each part in the body just where he wants them. He has placed us as individuals, unique in age, size and shape, background, and talents, just as He wants us in the Body of Christ.
And best of all … the pieces/parts do not have to be perfect. God uses us just as we are!
No matter what type of imperfection we have—brokenness, sinfulness, or even “craziness”—God can stitch us together in this “crazy quilt” of His love. The thread that ties us together—quilts—is the love of Christ. As we accept and learn to love each other, this is a testimony to the world around us, that all have purpose and meaning in God’s quilt of love.
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness, no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14)
(This was originally written as a submission to the clergy column of our local newspaper in 2019.)