The first parable recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke is that of the new patch on the old garment. I was surprised to see that it was first, but it makes sense: Jesus takes a situation perfectly familiar to his audience--the need to mend a worn garment--and uses it to reveal something mysterious about the kingdom of heaven.
Partly work and partly play You must on St. Distaffs Day: From the plough soon free your team; Then cane home and fother them: If the maids a-spinning go, Burn the flax and fire the tow. Bring in pails of water then, Let the maids bewash the men. Give St. Distaff' all the right: Then… Continue reading Texts & Textiles: St. Distaff’s Day
I, said the sheep with curly horn, I gave Him my wool for His blanket warm, He wore my coat on Christmas morn; I, said the sheep with curly horn. Today is the 10th day of Christmas, and at our house, we're still singing carols. One of my favorites is "The Friendly Beasts," a song… Continue reading Texts & Textiles: A Christmas Carol
The two things You asked, we have by Your birth. You put on our visible body; let us put on your hidden power. Our body became Your garment; Your spirit became our robe. Blessed is He Who was adorned and adorned us!" from Ephrem of Syria, "Hymn 22 on the Nativity." Ephrem the Syrian, Hymns. Trans.… Continue reading Texts & Textiles: Ephrem of Syria
Blessed are the timid hearts that evil hate that quail in its shadow, and yet shut the gate; that seek no parley, and in guarded room, though small and bate, upon a clumsy loom weave tissues gilded by the far-off day hoped and believed in under Shadow's sway. Blessed are the men of Noah's race… Continue reading Texts & Textiles: JRR Tolkien
She who reconciles the ill-matched threads of her life, and weaves them gratefully into a single cloth— it's she who drives the loudmouths from the hall and clears it for a different celebration where the one guest is you. In the softness of evening it's You she receives. You are the partner of her loneliness,… Continue reading Texts & Textiles: Rainer Maria Rilke
Although the image of the "Proverbs 31 woman" has been tarnished by narrow exegesis and mediocre women's conferences, it remains a powerful and challenging picture of a productive, joyful, generous life.
Get the distaff ready, and the Lord will send the flax. This traditional proverb, which I first encountered as a teen reading Louisa May Alcott's Jo's Boys, is an example of a saying which once illustrated its wisdom with everyday experiences, but which is now more or less opaque. A distaff is a tool used… Continue reading Texts & Textiles: Traditional Proverb
Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days' journey in breadth. Jonah… Continue reading Texts & Textiles: The Prophet Jonah
Who then devised the torment? Love. Love is the unfamiliar Name Behind the hands that wove The intolerable shirt of flame Which human power cannot remove. We only live, only suspire Consumed by either fire or fire. Eliot, T.S. "Little Gidding." Four Quartets. London: Faber & Faber, 1943. IV.