Mag Richer Smith has been a Mennonite pastor for 42 years, serving churches in Indiana, Illinois and Iowa. Now she finds that her time with her grandchildren is the most enjoyable part of her life. She and her husband, Bob, are retired and are members of Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship in Goshen, Indiana.
I go to my closet and retrieve Grandma’s wicker sewing box. I take out her thimble and begin sewing on a button and repairing a small tear.
I am not a seamstress. I do not own a sewing machine, and if I did, I would not know how to use it. But there is something about this tiny act of mending that brings the PRESENCE oh so close.
And I see you, God of the cosmos,
with your sewing box in hand,
the one you brought with you into the garden,
where the offenders were in hiding.
And in your great hurt, yes, you spewed out your anger,
reminding them that they are
dust and to dust they will return.
But still, Grandma’s sewing box was in your hands,
And you stooped down, down, down into their dust
with your newly threaded needle and your trusty thimble
and sewed those naked offenders brand new garments,
royal robes. Like flannel blankets tenderly tucked in
around precious infants, you offered another chance,
a new day. But I wonder, were your knees already arthritic? What more than pride did that stooping cost you?
So here I am, sewing on a button, repairing a small tear,
reminded of how you carry your sewing box into our trembling world. And I wonder, did you — like Grandma — ask those little ones for help in getting that thread through the needle’s tiny eye? Did you ask them to cooperate and contribute to the newness you were offering?
As I hold this needle in my hand, I see you, God,
ever so gently, tenderly stitching fresh hope
for your dusty, needy, naked creatures,
who, it turns out, are not just dust in your eyes
but also beloved children of your heart …
The ones for whom your love never ever lets go,
And for whom you never stop stooping …
The ones for whom you sew on buttons, repair tears
and cover shivering trembles with a new blanket of
unending, undeserved grace.
Perhaps I’ll go to the mending basket more humbly, gratefully and, maybe, even more joyfully next time!
Learn more about the Mennonite Spiritual Directors Network at mennosdn.org.
You can find links to the Spiritual Directors Network website and other congregational and ministerial resources on MC USA’s Church Vitality webpage: https://www.mennoniteusa.org/
The views and opinions expressed in this blog belong to the author and are not intended to represent the views of the MC USA Executive Board or staff.