The Clearing

In the Morning

Accept this invitation to take pause with God.  May this be a space of centering through these creative expressions shared with the Center for Spiritual Formation. 

Step into “In the Morning” designed by guest artist, Gloria McPherson.  A retired United Church of Christ minister residing in New Bloomfield, PA, this special quilt reflects her joy found in working with many different fibers. She learned to knit at age 8, from a family friend. Her grandmother taught her needlepoint. Her most recent accomplishment is Saori weaving. McPherson occasionally writes poetry as well.  May you hear the voice of the Spirit as you enter a space of quiet reflection…

Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.” 1 John 2:8

Pause & Reflect

Mark 16:1-8 (read this first; pause to reflect on this traditional “ending” of the story – what thoughts come to you? Continue reading verses 9-20 (traditional Easter Story)

2 Cor. 5: 14-21 (pairs with the idea of the quilt; Jesus moving out beyond the tomb and how that calls to us to do likewise)

As you view the quilt, read the poem, scriptures, and the questions, what images come to your mind?

When you consider the call to live in the light outside the tomb, what inspires you, what challenges you, what spark brings light to your daily life?

How does it feel different to look out from the tomb rather than to look in?

2 Corinthians tells us that “if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation” – who has Christ created you to be?

In the Morning

Memory of agony
As he looks out;
Morning has come.
Thirst lingers,
Reassurance of
In the midst of
Of continued oneness.
A promise kept –
Who is the object?
The women who watched,
Who will yet
Peter and the others,
Who forsook and yet
Can simply human do otherwise?
Discarded cloths,
Less white than
From the hilltop,
Still startling heaped upon
The stone floor.
Walking out into the
Warm upon his face,
Arms uplifted,
Radiance returned.

©Gloria J. McPherson
February 23, 2013

Inspiration for the art quilt and poem “In the Morning”

I created the quilt first, the poem came as a result of the quilt. I had seen a photograph of a painting. The painting featured steps leading down into a passageway, with rays of sunshine illuminating the one wall of the passageway. I was inspired by this way of portraying light and dark, and wanted to incorporate it into a quilt.

I designed and made the quilt at the beginning of Lent. I was thinking about the ways in which we think, talk, and preach about Easter Sunday. I wanted to consider a different perspective, and the use of sun and shadow offered an opportunity to consider looking out from Jesus’ burial chamber rather than the traditional ways in which we think about the disciples and the women looking in.

I chose to use pieces of fabric in colors that suggest the effect of sun on the walls, to shade the sunshine on the one side going from brighter to darker, and on the other side to show the way the darkness would vary. Central to the design is the opening of the chamber, looking out into the morning. I chose to use greens to allude to what is referred to in scripture as a garden. The sun has risen, and a barely visible cross is sewn into the sky.

The chamber floor is stone, but most important is the indication that Jesus has been there and is now gone. This is shown by the three-dimensional cloth that is left in a heap on the floor. Having this be three-dimensional was important to me, showing the dynamic nature of Easter morning.

Designing and creating this quilt was the inspiration for the poem. The poem illustrates and speaks to the perspective of someone looking out and dares to imagine one possible response by Jesus to that Easter morning. I am sure that my previous study and reading of scripture were also inspirational, but I was aware primarily of my response to the quilt.

Gloria J. McPherson