Saturday, August 21, 2010

Arco Iris en Cristo

This is my favorite banner.

My favorite because back in 1999 & 2000, our traveling Sunday School road show went from class to class, Sunday after Sunday, sharing a lesson about our new sister church relationship in El Salvador. Each child in Sunday School made a little self-portrait made of felt, the littlest ones with red clothes up through the middle school kids in the violet clothes, and all those little kids were sewed onto the banner.

My favorite because we left empty spaces in the arc, slices of space waiting to be filled. We packed it into a suitcase. A secret surprise for later.

My favorite because we were graciously welcomed into the school in our sister church community to share a Bible-school type lesson with the children, and during that lesson, each child made a little self-portrait made of felt, the littlest ones with red clothes up through the sixth graders in violet.

My favorite because that hot night in El Salvador, we opened the suitcase and under the light of candles and one dim bulb, in a very hot little home with a tin roof, a small circle of women pulled needles loaded with sturdy thread through the thick, glued felt kids to sew them onto the banner. Sitting together under a hot felt blanket in the heat and humidity, with mosquitoes and cockroaches buzzing the air around us, we women pulled and pulled that thread with pliers and strong hands. We sewed and laughed together, trying to understand one another despite the language barrier. Working into the wee hours of the morning, we joined together the arcs of that rainbow and the bonds of friendship grew between us.

My favorite because the next day at school, we unfurled that banner to the amazement of the children.

My favorite because every now and then the banner would appear during our visits with our sister church, but mostly, it lived inside a suitcase for safe-keeping. A secret surprise for later.

My favorite because after 11 years together, and after the building of a new church, the banner suddenly emerged from its hiding place to surprise us. Now, it hangs over the entrance door to the church, and it is beautiful!! The children represented on the banner have grown into teens and young adults, and some are no longer with us. But the women who sewed are bound together for life.

My favorite because this banner represents a rainbow of stories and memories, especially for Greasy and Grubby and Julia.

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