But i also want to return to the over-arching meta narrative of this blog, the purpose and practice of the church. I am still thinking around the metaphor of the Church as a piece of cross stitch but feel that the metaphor's symbolism may require some symbolism.
From what i can ascertain after conversations with cross stitch enthusiasts, there are four main elements to the cross stitch. Firstly, some gauze is needed. Nothing can be done, nothing can be created if there isn't a place to create it. An artist cannot paint unless there is a surface of some kind - wall, paper, easel, car... and so a cross stitch-er needs material to stitch their design upon.
For me, in the context of the cross stitched church, the gauze, the surface on which the grand design of the church is stitched is the world in which we live. By the term 'world' i could mean the globe, the wider universe, or the local community in which we live. But whether we like it or not, the Church expresses itself among the community in which we live. Even if we meet in secret, and there is just a few of us, still it makes some small mark on the world at large whether we know it or not. It is to the world that the church is sent, it is within the world that the church exists, it is by the material of the world - people and their ingenuity and creativity (combined with the Spirit of God) that the church is formed. Wherever we sew the pattern of God's church it is in and around the world that we inhabit with us seeking to display to our community the potential friendship and excitement of being in relationship to God and playing a part in the grand design of His church.