Thursday, April 14, 2011

Crafts for Christ

Yesterday I was invited to an amazing all day workshop at a cafe in a nearby village. "Himalayan Tapestry Creative Day" was billed as a day for women to learn a wide range of crafts - quilting, card making, watercolor painting, cake decorating, embroidery and even how to make a necklace using buttons. It  sounded so interesting and so totally different from the frustrations and drama I am currently embroiled in at home, I made up my mind to attend, regardless of the difficulties.

I made arrangements for food to be delivered from a restaurant (we were expecting guests) and went about my business. Naina agreed to come in early to look after Moy Moy and I left the house at 9:15. My friend Preeti was coming with me so we met at the half-way point and drove on to the venue together.

We were a little late and we arrived to a beehive of industry and endeavor. Eight Australian women were in charge of the eight simultaneous activities and at first it was impossible to make a choice as to which group to join. Each one was gorgeous and alluring . . .

and the teachers were patient and encouraging:

I was wandering around taking photographs, and Preeti had just settled on a painting activity

when suddenly the whole day's events came to a screeching halt:

Time for a Bible reading! I am a religious person myself, but there was something so odd about this imposition of Scripture in the middle of the Himalayan Tapestry's Creative Day I just couldn't get my head around it. And not content with only a reading, the eight Australian women (who were now revealed as - perhaps - ravenous missionaries, hungry for souls) seemed to feel compelled to do even more: as the Biblical passage was being read, they acted it out, in a pantomime so simplistic it seemed more like a parody of the story than an enhancement.

What was this about? I looked more carefully at the little bag I had been given when registering. I saw now it also contained a leaflet with four Gospel readings - the first of which we had just seen enacted. Clearly, more was in store for us. Was this a tax, a hidden charge for the day's events? Being compelled to listen to and watch Biblical skits? Did the organizers feel we needed this? Was it important that we not think simply having fun and making beautiful things was enough?

It's hard to imagine Jesus being so ham-handed. It's hard to imagine the guy who healed people of dreaded diseases like leprosy or blindness and then "charged them strictly to tell no one" behaving like this. It's hard to imagine a man who attended a wedding and changed water into wine just to spare the couple the embarrassment of having run out being so "in your face" about his message. Especially when people were busy doing embroidery and making button necklaces.

Jesus was respectful of people's intelligence and of their dignity. He never saw the need to insult anyone with false advertising or to pretend to be anything other than what he was.His story was far too compelling to need theatrics to get it across.

But I think he might have enjoyed a few patchwork quilts and the odd handmade card.  And I kind of hope he'd like the one I made:

A little bird on a wide green meadow. A pretty bird with a sparkly eye and a sweet branch to perch upon. A bird whose only reason for being is the song she was sent here to sing. No other agenda. No shopping list, no ulterior motive, no Scripture lesson sugar-coated with an art and craft class.

Jesus was about hard truths. But he didn't frown upon unmixed delights. Water into wine. Bread upon the waters. Lose your life to save it.

I'm going to use my new-found card-making skills this weekend - I've got a sick friend who would be thrilled to receive one and another who just lost his wife and could use a little love. Because that's what Jesus came to teach us. It's about love. Only love.

1 comment:

chicu said...

Disregard for other people's intelligence, feelings and dignity, yes. But do they really believe that other people can't see through these transparent ploys? I get this in normal conversation too, where I end up petulantly exclaiming, 'but why don't you just say so!' Games..they take up so much energy.