My friend, Gale, makes beautiful patchwork quilts. Pictured here is one she sewed called, “Square In A Square.” Her passion for patchwork is shared by many in the Orange Grove Quilter’s Guild of which she is a member and past president. What used to be done out of necessity by early American settlers is now a creative art form. There are many beautiful patterns to choose from but all of them require precision in cutting and sewing in order for the edges to fit together exactly as they should. And of course, all the pieces of fabric need to be preshrunk before sewing.
In our verse for today Jesus uses the illustration of patching a tear with new unshrunk material on to old material. The conversation arises out of questions from those following tradition and ritual. They are trying to connect their system of belief with what Jesus was teaching. These men were distracted with the externals of religion that fed their own self-righteousness. Jesus is revealing a new internal Gospel of forgiveness and cleansing. What is legalistic and of the flesh could not be attached to what is grace and of the Spirit (Gal. 3:3).
Any time I think I can earn God’s favor by my own good works or religious observances, I am falling into that same kind of thinking! Whether it is church attendance, fasting, hymn singing or giving, none of these activities, as positive as they are, earn right standing with God. My relationship with Him is only because of His grace.
“Nothing in my hand I bring. Simply to Thy cross I cling.” I am forever grateful for grace!