God’s Altar Cloth


The day my writing turns into a banal trope simply about what my kids did, is the day it’s time to hang it up. All along, lo seven-plus years now, while I’ve certainly documented what is happening in my children’s lives, this is not just another mommy-blog. It’s been an exercise in writing, in growing spiritually, in finding the tiny seed-pearls of the divine mixed in with the mess of Legos on the floor.

I am in imperfect woman. No, “imperfect” doesn’t even cover it- am a flawed mess of a human being- just like everyone else. This Easter, as I contemplated the happenings of Holy Week and what a flesh and blood man named Jesus might have done during a long ago spring, my own myopia and failings floated to the surface. When you’re contemplating something holy, the light— whether you mean it to or not— has a habit of falling on everything. Even the things you wish to hide. Especially on things you wish to hide.

I’ve made some colossally bad choices in my life, and if left my own devices, there is little doubt there would be little hope. But that’s the funny thing about grace; we don’t earn it. We don’t, and frankly can’t, do anything even remotely close to living the life God would want us to to be “worthy” of the grace piled upon us. Whether we deserve it or not, from the most wretched beggar to the highest kings upon piles of gold, God spills out mercy and grace to all. It’s us, in our misguided self-importance and detailed playbooks that try to place fences around the mercy and abundance of God.

It’s also us, in our fragile, tissue-thin mortal state, reaching out our supple calloused feeble soft hands to others’ suffering, our thin strong aging young arms to enfold those in agony. We offer our thimblefulls of collected wisdom and what we know of grace- all that we have. All that we are. We are the best, and we are the worst, woven together into a tapestry of humanity– God’s altar cloth.

My words, though they come through a broken vessel, are still viable and important expressions; important not because of me, but because of God, and the fact that he uses the imperfect— and our multitudinous cracks— to shed his light on the world. In my entire life, I have never created a single thing that even came close to the sprit of what inspired me to pick up a paint brush, a pair or scissors, a fountain pen, or open my laptop. Not even once. Never. And yet grace continues to pour down.

5 thoughts on “God’s Altar Cloth

  1. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. And do you know this Leonard Cohen lyric?

    from “Anthem”
    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack in everything
    That’s how the light gets in.

  2. Your pearls of wisdom are beautiful
    Thank you for sharing your flawed self with others – for sharing your talents.

    I am blessed to call you friend.
    Love you!

  3. Rechabite — one of my favorite lyrics (and let’s be honest, pieces of poetry) of all time! And Tracy — again, thank you. I love this. So very much.

  4. Missed Easter services due to a sick child. I feel like you just gave it to me in your post. Wish all talks at church could be so profound. Happy Belated Easter!

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