This quilt segment can be seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and was made by Elizabeth Keeler and Ellie Keeler Gorham around the year 1883. They called the quilt, "Crazy Pattern." It appears that every scrap of material that could be found at the Keeler home was salvaged and used to produce this engaging work of art.
New Testament gospels are quilts of a sort, too. Each author had a variety of sources to choose from, edit, and arrange in order to tell the story of Jesus in the most compelling way for his unique audience. Sometimes the pattern of narrative swatches is plain, and at other times it's a crazy pattern. In today's reading, Matthew has quilted together some story snippets and their inter-relationship is not so clear. Perhaps the craziness of the pattern reflects the crazy spiritual state of the people around Jesus, and why He says, "You unbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?"
In these eighteen verses, we see misunderstanding, weak faith, grief and presumption on the part of Christ's disciples. "Who IS the Elijah to come?" "Why couldn't WE cast out that demon?" "What will we do when You are DEAD?" "Why WOULDN'T You pay the Temple tax?" Jesus' followers are such a confused and immature bunch. They are pushing the One who invented patience to the end of His rope. But He will never let go. He will persevere through craziness, through the betrayal and the denial and the abandonment - and die for the redemption of them all.
And 'them all' means you and me. We are among the disciples who drive Jesus crazy. We misunderstand His Word. We fail at our tests of faith. We fret, panic and weep, even though He has told us that in Him we overcome. Then, on the other hand, we speak with bold assurance of things about which we are dead wrong. Oh, the unsearchable riches of His grace toward the insanity that is humanity!
and merciful is He
to persevere with a 'crazy quilt'
like you and me.
Pray: Thank you, Lord! Thank you. I have so far to go. And I have ignored, mis-represented, and mis-interpreted Your Word so many times. Yet You continue to show me grace and supply the help that I need. Your grace IS truly amazing!