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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Harland's quilt

The patches tell of hard work and heavenly hope

I have always loved quilts. I never quite understood why. Perhaps it was the colors or memories from childhood. Definitely an appreciation of the hard work involved in making one.

Never did, that is, until the Palm Sunday when I saw displayed on the pews the dozens of quilts the ladies had made, working all winter long. They gave me one, made of old blue jeans, pockets and all.

What if each piece could tell a story of life on the farm? Of taking care of the calves and driving the tractor. Of going to school and playing. Of cooking meals and raising kids. Jeans worn in rain, sun and snow. Jeans worn until they were worn out—and relegated to the rag pile.

Then a quilter looked through that rag pile. The pieces that were good and true were kept, the rest put back.

When I looked at that quilt and the others on the back of the pews that morning, I thought surely the jeans, and the other clothes, too, had been reborn. This must be what God has in mind for us, I thought: When our lives are worn down to where there are only a few good patches and we’re finished on this Earth, we, too, will be reborn into something new and beautiful—stitched together into a heavenly quilt of eternity.


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December issue

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