A couple of weeks ago I suggested to a couple of friends that we study the book of Job. We each have life experiences that are, without a doubt, very challenging at the moment. We decided to go with 5
Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit through Proverbs 31 Ministries, studying the book of and person of Ruth. It’s been a while since I’ve read Ruth, what I remember of her is her strength, and her willingness to make sacrifices. In normal Teri fashion I started reading the book that goes with the study, although it doesn’t begin until mid-April. This has resonated with me already, rather deeply. I’ll share here along the way.
As Catholics we’re in a Year of Mercy, prayer. Leading up to this year I’ve read the Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning, it is rich in the discovery and embracing the Mercy of God. Mercy leads to the woundedness of the Cross. Mercy leads to compassion. Mercy leads to repentance, understanding, liberty.
Let Mercy Lead. When mercy leads so much happens including a deep sense of peace. Mercy also requires action the action of a loving heart that understands the pain and hurt of another, even when all of the circumstances aren’t know. Mercy asks us to be kind, even when kindness is rebuffed. Mercy asks us to treat people well, even when. Mercy asks us to not throw stones. Mercy asks us to walk with others, to give room for the unexpected. Mercy asks. Mercy doesn’t demand. As I write this the stories of Mary & Martha having Jesus over for dinner, and the woman caught in adultery and the crowd about to stone her come to mind. Mercy leads to kindness, understanding, and compassion. Mercy is LOVE personified. Mercy is the action of love.
Quilterly mercy is a beautiful thing to watch. Quilters building one another up. Quilters responding to the needs of others in very real, tangible ways. I see it a lot. I see it in the quilters sharing what they’ve learned. I see it when quilters encourage a new quilter to go ahead and take that risk. I see it when quilters remind themselves and others that they can choose the fabrics/colors for their quilts. That it’s okay to make a complete mess of their quilting while they are Learning How-to! That the mess is part of the process and without the mess there is no room to grow.
I see quilterly mercy in action when teachers share the struggles they had when they were learning how to quilt. You know the stories – the ones when learning to use the rotary cutter was a painful experience, and we managed to not bleed on the quilt; the one where we stitched our finger, did bleed on the quilt and someone taught us the spit trick. The “here’s how I would have handled that quilterly problem” sharing an option that resonates with the person. I see quilterly mercy expressed in so many ways.
I see a lot of “not mercy” as well. Lord I long for compassion. I see the effects of “not mercy” and it breaks my heart. Because “not mercy” oh, is not Mercy. And quilters are people with hearts that can be wounded, deeply. Mercy and kindness raise the tide so that all quilters have the opportunity to experience the welcome and love of the community. When mercy leads quilters experience more of their own dignity. And there is nothing more powerful than that.
Be Merciful as our Father in Heaven in Merciful.