As the Father has loved me,
so have I loved you. Abide in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you,
and that your joy may be full.
John 15:9-11 (ESV)
"How do you take the prayers out?" Little fingers winding in and through the knots. Never still, head tilted, eyes wide with wonder, Charli had just heard the story of this quilt, this prayer quilt, of how the knots were tied with prayers.
Knots tied with love. Old, gnarled fingers on hands stiff with arthritis and ropy with veins. Young, supple fingers on smooth-skinned hands. Working hands, hard with callouses tied knots. Surgeon's hands, pastor's hands, teachers and musicians. The congregation gathered around this quilt, praying over the knots. Praying for the man who would receive it. Praying strength and comfort, praying forgiveness and grace, praying wisdom. For him, for his family, for his doctors and the medical team.
To little Charli Grace, it must seem like a wonderful gift - each knot a prayer - like a wish, a blanketful of wishes, like lighting advent candles, like opening a series of birthday presents, like Christmas morning - all of these prayers tied up in the quilt, all of these prayers laying over her Grandpa's lap.
Sweet smile, innocence in blond curls and china-blue eyes. "How do you take the prayers out of the knots?"
Because she realizes the prayers are the important part. The part to be unwrapped. The gift. Precious and holy.
I want to take the prayers out of the knots in all of the prayer quilts of this world.
I want the prayers for comfort and healing and strength and wisdom, for forgiveness and grace, for families and doctors and medical teams to stretch from here to Paris, from Paris to Syria, and Kenya, to Russia, to North Korea, to India. To the United States.
I want the prayers to grow like a vine, a wild, beautiful vine, that winds around and upholds the lost, the hopeless, the grief-stricken, the desperate, the lonely.
I want the prayers to rain down on hubris and greed, on fear and ashamed, on selfish, on self-loathing. Rain down and melt down. Healing rain.
I want the prayers to heal the sick, help the poor, adopt the orphans, build houses for the homeless, find homes for refugees.
I want to unknot peace, and kindness in this broken world.
Jesus said "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."
Love and pray.
Love and pray. Precious and holy.
I want to untie the love in this world - the action of love - of loving one another as Jesus loved us. He died for us.
Can't we untie the love?