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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Sewing (02/22/07)

TITLE: Not a patch on the alternatives...
By Helen Paynter


Jesus does not carry a needle and thread.

Stiff with self-importance, the Pharisees laid a cloth before him with haughty hands. It was a tablecloth, richly embroidered through centuries of tradition and custom. Its glowing colours dazzled; its intricacies bewildered.

‘Well?’ Their narrow eyes challenged him. ‘Show us where your teachings fit in.’ Smug in its self-evident perfection they dared him to point out an inconsistency, a flaw requiring repair.

‘I will not,’ he replied. ‘The kingdom of God is a new thing. It cannot be patched onto old cloth. It will tear away at the first wash and both will be ruined.’

Brimming with success, the scientists spread a collection of cloths before him. At once magnificent yet incomplete, each piece was joined to the next with minute stitches. And emerging from the scraps was a great, beautiful picture of the universe in all its complexity. But there were gaps, places where the puzzle was still incomplete.

‘See what we have discovered.’ Pride was written across their faces. ‘We would like to do you the honour of inviting you to fill in the gaps. We believe you have much to teach us in these areas of our ignorance.’

‘I will not,’ he replied. ‘I will not tack the truths of the Kingdom into your collage. When you have fresh knowledge, you will discard them like old cloth. But come, bring them to me and see how they fit into my Father’s great picture.’

Radiant with political correctness, the people bring before him a patchwork they have made together. Here is every shade, every shape, every tone; cobbled together into a glowing hotchpotch of diversity.

‘Add a piece,’ they urge him, bland goodwill in every expression. ‘Contribute your own distinctive teaching to this glorious melee.’

‘I will not,’ he replies. ‘I am not one truth among many. I will not present myself on a menu for selection or rejection. Bring these pieces to me. See how gladly my Father will receive them, and how they will adorn the fabric of heaven. For my Father’s kingdom is rich in diversity, and every tone, every shade, every shape is welcomed there.’

Complacent with their lot, the rich offer him their overcoats.

‘Something is lacking,’ they admit with unfamiliar guilt. ‘Patch your salvation on the sleeve here, so that we will be complete.’

‘I will not,’ he replies. ‘I will not be a band-aid for your lives. But remove your overcoats. Come to me in your nakedness, and see how I will clothe you.’

Broken, the humble show him their rags.

‘These are the threadbare remnants of our lives,’ they confess. ‘Can you do something to mend them?’

‘I will not,’ he replies. ‘Why would you want to keep these scraps? And what would they look like if I mended them? I will do something new in you. Come to me, lay these tatters aside, and see how I will clothe you. In finest white, in gowns that will never soil. I will dress you fit for the kingdom.’

Jesus is not in the business of make-do and mend.

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This article has been read 1672 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 03/01/07
You have no idea how deeply this touches me, as I have frequently been in a place where I have tried to get Him to do my bidding. And I thought I was so right, too! I love His righteous and gracious "I will not" and His demonstration that there is always, always something better--and more befitting His utter holiness. Awesome piece of writing.
Myrna Noyes03/02/07
I enjoyed this truth-tale very much! I really loved Jesus' wise replies to their tricky suggestions! Great job! :)
Marilee Alvey03/03/07
Okay, take a ribbon and sit down, already! Wow! How wonderfully this expresses my Jesus. He doesn't patch and mend. He makes all things new! He will NOT be on a menu amidst so many other religions. You have said a mouthful here in a VERY imaginative way. This is a story I'd love to share with others because it has some images that are clearly takeaways, images that I will remember long after I've forgotten where they came from! That's a sign of a Master. I tremble at the thought of coming here next week to compete against your talent. Could you just go on a very long vacation?
Lynda Schultz 03/05/07
Oh boy — this is incredible! What a marvelous take on the theme. You are a master at the craft.
Joanne Sher 03/06/07
Amazingly written and insightful, as always. So much here. Loved this, Helen.
Betty Castleberry03/06/07
I don't know what I can say that others haven't already said. I will just add there's some amazing insight in this piece. Excellent.
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/06/07
I think your last sentence said it all! I liked the way you presented Jesus' words--true to the picture we have of Him in the Scriptures.
Tiffany Secula03/06/07
Wonderful sentiment! I loved this!
Allison Egley 03/06/07
Oh, I loved this, with all the different stories woven (haha) together to make a single point. Great job, and a great reminder for all of us.
Linda Watson Owen03/06/07
Wow! Powerful, powerful! What a piece of straight to the heart truth! Great writing, Helen!
Catrina Bradley 03/06/07
You've struck a chord. How true of me too many times - I bring my own creation to Jesus and say "look!" when His is so much better. Thank you, thank you. I love it.
Julie Arduini03/07/07
I have tears because this is the Jesus we all need to consistently fellowship with, and I sure go about it the wrong way too often. Perfection!
Clyde Blakely03/08/07
Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! Inspired and worthy. God bless and keep writing.
Jan Ackerson 06/27/07
Welcome to the 500, Helen! I'm going to feature this wonderful piece on the Front Page Showcase for the week of July 9th. Look for it on the FW home page.
Joanne Sher 07/09/07
Good to see you on the front page, Helen - especially with this wonderfully thought-provoking and convicting piece! Excellent, again :)
Melanie Smith-Taylor07/09/07
I really enjoyed this piece and the gentle, yet firm way Jesus spoke to me about the need to consistently lay myself bare before Him and allow Him to do a new thing in me. Thanks for writing this and being His instrument to admonish and encourage me.
Janice Cartwright07/10/07
Helen this is really wonderful. I'm so glad it was featured otherwise I might have missed it. You expressed so well and creatively something I'm often on my soapbox ranting about. Jesus is not in the remodeling business, thank goodness for us. He said, Behold, I make all things new." Thank you so much for saying this so well.
Anne Linington07/14/07
Helen, you really have a wonderful gift from God which I know you will use for His glory.
Brilliantly creative- and a fellow Brit.!