Stitching Light into the World with God

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When I was thirty years old, and just beginning my ministry, someone taught me how to needlepoint. I thought needlepoint was for grandmothers, not young professionals. I was wrong. Needlepoint was, and has been for me, a creative, contemplative art that I have cherished ever since.  

A few years ago I came across a needlepoint artist’s design of the days of Creation from Genesis. I decided to start at the beginning with Day 1: Light -- Light that is not the sun or moon or any other external source; Light that is from God and that is God, that emerges out of the formless void and no darkness can overcome it; Light that brings forth all other life.

Working on Day 1 was a spiritual experience. I imagined God weaving the Creation into being in the depths of the earth. Each time I looked at it, my heart delighted in its beauty, whether in my hand or waiting for my needle to continue sewing the light of the world into being. Little by little, this is what I came to know:

God invites each of us to stitch with Her, bringing forth light into the world with the needle and thread God has given us. 

It was in seminary, a few years before I learned to needlepoint, that I was given  the profound gift of a full semester class on stewardship. Our first assignment was to spend the semester engaging the spiritual practice of giving away 10% of what we’d been given. What I thought would be an impossible hardship gifted me.

In Scripture giving is not a commandment, but a kindness to connect us with gratitude for life, and to open the sacred place in us that desires to be a giver. The math is simple, and it is a path toward incarnating Light. It is implied that this 10% actually doesn’t even belong to us; it belongs to the poor and is given to us to give away.  And it is a way we can be freed from a poverty we don’t know we have. We only realize it when we feel the gift that comes from giving. Like love, we don’t know what it is until we love another, we don’t know the gift of giving until we give.  

10% of $10.00 is a dime. It is a dime that is to be given away. 10% of my skill is what? 10% of my time is what? 

It becomes a spiritual practice, releasing this offering into the world, no strings attached. The encouragement to give appears many times in scripture, but a particularly beautiful example is when, in Exodus, God gives instruction on how to build the Ark of the Covenant, a meeting place for God and God’s people: 

Tell the Israelites to take for me an offering; from all whose hearts prompt them to give you shall receive the offering for me.

This is the offering that you shall receive from them: gold, silver, and bronze, blue, purple, and crimson yarns and fine linen, goats’ hair, tanned rams’ skins, fine leather, acacia wood, oil for the lamps, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, onyx stones and gems to be set in the ephod and for the breastpiece. And have them make me a sanctuary, so that I may dwell among them.
— EXODUS 25:2-8

Our gift is sometimes gold, sometimes other gems, sometimes crimson yarns or fragrant incense from what has been given to us. All are ways we get to stitch light into the world with God. 

There are many places to share the blessings of your life. If you feel prompted to give to Stillpoint, your donation will help us meet our commitments at the fiscal year end so we can continue to bring the light of spiritual direction and spiritual practices into being.

With Gratitude and Blessings for the Journey,  
Elizabeth+

 
Rev. Elizabeth I. Rechter Executive Director, Stillpoint

Rev. Elizabeth I. Rechter
Executive Director, Stillpoint

 
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