Thursday, March 7, 2019

I finished my purple scarf

I finished my purple scarf.

I must have pulled out my stitches 10 times to start over, only to discover my new work was just as wavy and inconsistent as the previous work had been.  The first day, I crocheted for a total of about 6 hours, and at the end of the day I had a bunch of unraveled yarn to show for it.  I finally realized that if I was going to finish this scarf, I had to stop starting over.  And if the scarf turned out wavy, so be it.  Friends, this scarf is a testament to the idea that some things are worth doing poorly.  It was better to make an inconsistent, but finished, scarf, than a perfect, nonexistent scarf.

And so I started over one more time.  And somehow I lost stitches, which made the scarf narrower than it was supposed to be, but I persisted.  And then somehow I gained stitches again, which made it the right width again.  Still, I persisted.  And now, it's done, in all its thin and thick and imperfect beauty.

I made this purple scarf as a gesture of welcome to the participants of the 2020 General Conference of the United Methodist Church.  Now, I don't even know if there's going to be a General Conference in Minnesota in 2020, or if there is, if my church will be a part of it.  If there isn't, or we're not, I'm not sure what I'll do with this purple scarf.  I do know that I won't keep it.  This purple scarf was made to be given away.

I didn't grow up in the United Methodist Church, although now I've attended UM churches for more than half my life.  I didn't know there was such a thing as a Book of Discipline, or care about the organizational structure of the church.  I had no idea what all these conferences were about: Charge, Annual, General.  Truthfully, I still don't, nor do I care, really.

My husband and I grew up in different Christian denominations, and as we were looking for a church together, we didn't really concern ourselves with what the churches called themselves.  Rather, we paid attention to the people: their attitudes and values, and how we felt when we were there.  And one thing that I especially appreciated about the United Methodist Churches that we visited, and ultimately joined, was their absolute, almost aggressive, welcoming inclusivity.  They went out of their way to let everyone know that they were loved and valued and welcomed by God, and, therefore, loved and valued and welcomed by the church.  The only rule seemed to be Love.

I was shocked to discover last week that not all churches called United Methodist feel the same.  That some think there are whole groups of people who are not as valued, who are less than.  It broke my heart.

Now, we the church are on the brink of something new.  It's scary.  And exhilarating.  Well, exhilarating, if you go for that kind of thing.  I, personally, have no desire to stand at the top of a cliff and jump off.  But here I am.  Here we are.  Poised to jump into the unknown.

Friends, let me be clear: I don't care who you are or what you've done.  I don't care how you identify or about your sexuality.  I don't care how much money you make or how you choose to spend it.  I don't care what color you are or where you're from.  I don't care that you just cut me off in traffic.  You are loved, you are valued, you are worthy.  Not because of who you are, but because of who God is.  Who am I to exclude someone whom God welcomes?

It was good practice, making that scarf, I suppose.  By the end, I was more consistent in my stitches.  The second half of the scarf has fairly straight edges.  In the same way, we will find our way to the something new, imperfectly, perhaps, but growing and learning and becoming better.

I say that we are poised to jump into the unknown, but that's not exactly true.  We are poised to jump into a more perfect love.  That, we absolutely know.  The unknown is how exactly we'll get there, and how, exactly, it'll look.  We do know that it will be beautiful.

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