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Love is Spoken Here

Love is Spoken Here

When our daughter, Megan, announced she was getting married, all my friends asked if I was planning to make her wedding dress to which I replied “no way, I want to be her friend on the big day”.  I did, however, offer to make some vestments!

I have always loved Celtic knots; blame my Irish heritage. Megan’s name means wind of fire and that she is… my wonderful passionate daughter.

As I began thinking of which knots to use, I found myself focusing on a  conversation I had had with a newer member of our congregation.  He was living into the reality of life as a gay man having come from a place where that was simply not safe.  He would sit toward the back of the church and as I shared the Peace with him, he would often be in tears saying over and over again “love is spoken here, love is spoken here”.   So it is I created the knot of hearts entwined to place on the pulpit reminding us all that love is spoken here.  It was perfect for Megan’s wedding!

The chasuble and stole were next.  I used a beautiful cross on the chasuble but the stole has such meaning for me.  It is made from one continuous strand woven over, under, over, under in ever changing patterns.  Each side is different – just as the two of them are different and just as the two of them bring their own unique gifts to the marriage, the hope is they will join those gifts together to become a more complete, more whole human each in their own right but connected always.  I am grateful to say that is how life has been for them and now their three beautiful children.  Thanks be to God!

My first blog post

My first blog post

I always imagined my very first Blog post would be on the question I am so frequently asked; how did I come to be a vestment maker?  I find that will be my second post as my heart and mind are heavy from the election cycle we have all experienced.

It has been laced with hatred, bigotry, homophobia, racism, sexism and so much more.  It has been hard for me to come up for air on some days.  Thankfully, I found myself working on a frontal for a church in Illinois with a Celtic knot as its central image.

Celtic knots have always been important to me. My grandmother was ten years old when she emigrated here from Ireland. She was the eldest of three children. After her father died of pneumonia, her mother, the eldest of twelve, had tried to return to her family home with the three children. They lived in County Sligo, where it is written the poorest of the poor lived in the Ireland of her day. Regrettably, her family could not support them so my great grandmother walked with her three children from Sligo in the north to Cork in the south. It took her untold days and months of labor to save enough to book steerage for her and her children to set sail for America. Hers is a story of courage and hope – one lived out every day by the immigrants who still come to these shores seeking the promise emblazoned on the Statue of Liberty; “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

As I sat at my machine for many days creating the knot seen on this frontal it was a sacred meditation. This particular knot is made of one single strand that is woven over and under, over and under, countless times. There is no beginning and no end, only an interconnectedness and beauty that comes from seeing the whole image before your eyes. As a great-granddaughter, a granddaughter and a daughter, it reminded me that I am inextricably connected to my past. As a mother and grandmother, it reminded me I am responsible to be fully present in the now. As a public health nurse, it reminded me that the many people I encounter in my work life who manage to fall through the cracks of care within this great nation of ours are an essential and beautiful part of the whole. As a woman of faith, it reminded me I need to stand firm for the Beatitudes that call us every day to always remember that:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

– Matthew 5:1-12

I hope you will be moved by the beauty of this Celtic knot as it proclaims we are all connected, we are all part of a greater whole, together we form great beauty, our strength comes from our interconnectedness. I find I must and will speak for those who mourn, who are hungry, who are peacemakers, who are persecuted. Will you? I pray it may be so.