It would seem an ordinary thing, the craft of quilting. Handed down from mother to daughter through hundreds of generations, the quilt Mary Margaret Stuart held in her hands was anything but ordinary.
Mary held the quilt reverently, tight against her heart, as she carried it from its hiding place and into the living room where she and her two twin daughters, Elizabeth and Anna, both 10 years old, were busy making their own quilt.
They watched their mother walk over to the large empty dining room table.
“Come girls,” she called, “this is our treasure.”
Mary began carefully unrolling the quilt onto the big wooden table.
“It’s all in black and white, Mama,” Elizabeth said. Anna nodded her head in agreement.
“This is a super special quilt,” Mary began. “It’s been handed down from mother to daughter in our family for hundreds of years.”
“Who made it,” Anna asked softly as she walked up and carefully touched the edge.
“Each square has a picture hand sewn into it,” Elizabeth commented as she too walked around the table examining the quilt.
“Yes,” Mary agreed. “It is a sacred honor to hold and protect this and pass it on until the time is right.
“Time for what?” both girls asked in unison.
Mary sighed, motioning for them to come to her. She pulled them close when they came and kissed each of them.
“Joseph of Arimathaea left Jerusalem after the crucifixion of Jesus. If you remember, he was given the body of Jesus and it was his tomb where Jesus was placed.”
Both girls nodded.
“Joseph went to Britain, now better known as England and landed at a place called Glastonbury on the coast. Once there, he climbed Wearyall Hill, stuck his staff into the ground and started a great church called Glastonbury Abbey. His staff sprouted and flowered into a great tree. I understand it continues to blossom twice each year once in the spring and again at Christmas time.”
“What about the quilt, Mama?” Elizabeth asked.
Mary smiled and continued. “The legend is that the quilt was started there by the women in his family and church. This is a whole cloth quilt from a single piece of fabric brought by him from Jerusalem. The pictures sewn in tell the story of the crucifixion and Joseph’s mission to Britain.”
Anna pointed at one square and said, “That’s just a picture of a bowl.”
“More than a bowl,” Mary replied smiling, “that’s called the Holy Grail. It's the cup Jesus used at the Last Supper.”
“Please tell us everything about this quilt,” Elizabeth said.
Mary nodded and began telling the girls the whole story of how the quilt was made and handed down through mother and daughter quilters through out the many centuries until today. The three of them stood quietly looking at the quilt and the pictures when she finished a couple of hours later. It was nearly lunch time and they all were tired and hungry.
“What do we do with it now, Mama?” Elizabeth asked, both girls turning to look up at their mother.
“Now it is time for us to make the quilt into a gambeson. It is a special padded jacket for someone to wear.”
“Who’s to wear it?” Anna asked.
“Before Christ came the last time, the man called John the Baptist was sent to announce his coming. The gambeson we’re to make is for the wonderful person who will announce his second coming.”
She paused a moment. “I had a vivid dream last night for the three of us to start making the jacket. In the dream I saw both a man and a woman coming for the jacket.”
“Which one did you give it to?” asked Elizabeth.
“It was to be given to the one that could read the quilt and know where the Grail is hidden. In the dream I was told that they would come sometime in the future. We were to make the gambeson now, guard and protect it, and pass it along until they come and ask for it.
“When will that be?” Anna asked.
“No one knows,” Mary said, “but, we are quilter’s and have been told to sew the garment now and be ready. Everyone should always be ready and right with God. So, let’s have some lunch and go to work. We have some quilting work to do.”
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