Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.I Thess. 5:11
Beauty can be enhanced by variety and diversity.
Some of our mothers and grandmothers collected remnants of fabric and combined them to create a useful blanket, a work of art, a gift for a new baby, or a donation for someone in need of warmth. Wade’s mother designed a beautiful quilt for us, sewn from colorful leftover scraps that she and my mother had saved. Even now the cherished piece sparks memories of a favorite dress or one of Wade’s childhood shirts. (Yes, we grew up in an era when our mothers sewed most of our clothes.)
And then there are pies… so many pies! More blended bits. We combine tart rhubarb and sweet strawberries, or milk and eggs for smooth custard. Lemon or lime fillings are topped with bland yet beautiful meringue. A fall vegetable becomes a fragrant, spicy, pumpkin dessert.
In another context, consider the way a stained-glass window is comprised of many fragile shapes, held together to complete a design we can’t imagine until it is framed and illuminated.
All of these varied and unexpected pairings create something unique and valued.
But how does this relate to MennoExpressions?
Back in June, the caring members of our First Mennonite and Shalom team chatted online, trying to forge consensus as we explored topics for this issue. No coffee, tea or Long’s donuts were available to sweeten the process, unless we each indulged alone. We vacillated…
The pandemic, so overarching in our lives, seemed impossible to ignore, but we would prefer something lighter to bring balm to our weariness.
Perhaps a general discussion of illness and its impact would be less focused, but surely still difficult for writers asked to share.
We also felt a need to show our concern for justice, recognition, and support for people of color around us.
And we wanted art which could inspire or illustrate.
How would we decide?
A reminder that MennoExpressions historically explored and reflected current issues, even when they were fraught with emotion, brought the suggestion that we could encourage contributions relating to any of these topics, or a different focus, and then combine them into a blended issue, a patchwork of reactions and ideas for our days of disarray!
As the mélange of completed pieces and artwork appeared in our email folders, we have been inspired, and gratefully share the hope and encouragement with you, our readers.
O God…Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 63:7