On Dec. 17, I was in charge of our interactive service at church. I'm reposting this post from my theology blog because I think it could be useful in many settings, in any place where we need to remind ourselves of the value of being woven together. Even if you don't have a manger lying around, you could use any wooden frame--even cardboard would work--so, think about drawers and shoeboxes and such.
Our church heard the story of Joseph, who planned to quietly disentangle himself from the pregnant Mary--and then the angel comes in a dream to tell him of God's plan, and Joseph marries Mary. I wanted to do something different for our interactive service.
I'd been thinking about Joseph's actions and how by accepting Mary, he keeps from shredding the social fabric, and we talked a bit about this aspect of the story. If he had sent Mary away, he'd have still made a hole in at least two families. And his actions would have likely had further effects. We rarely shred and tear in one place without seeing stress in other parts of the social fabric.
I thought about a previous Christmas when I made strips of fabric for the wooden manger. I wasn't there for that service, so I couldn't remember what we did. But I had an idea for Joseph Sunday, as I'd taken to calling it in my head.
Happily, we still had the manger, although no one could remember where the legs had gone. I stretched fabric across in one direction and taped it to the ends.
I cut strips of fabric:
On these strips of fabric, we wrote places where we wanted reweaving to happen in 2018, whether in our individual lives or our larger networks. Here's part of my strip, where I talked about my house needing to be put together after Hurricane Irma and my need to prioritize:
And then we wove them together.
We talked about the symbolism, about how we all have issues, and how we are more supported when woven together.
We talked about whether the baby Jesus is under our concerns in the manger or whether or weaving could hold the baby Jesus. I found this doll, which doesn't weigh as much as a real baby, but it's an interesting image:
We noted the crosses in the middle of our weaving, an unplanned bit of loveliness:
It was an interesting way of experiencing the way we weave ourselves together. In the end, I untapped the weaving from the manger and took it home. I'm not sure it would mean anything to people who hadn't participated. I hope it means something to those who did.