Harborough churches column: The truth is vital as we weave the complex tapestry of life

Janet Smith explores the truth, and its importance in our daily lives, in this week's churches column

By Janet Smith
Monday, 9th August 2021, 11:23 am
Updated Monday, 9th August 2021, 11:24 am
Janet Smith.
Janet Smith.

Have you ever been on tenterhooks? Perhaps so while watching the Olympics, or indeed as my husband was back in May when he saw his beloved Leicester City lift the FA Cup after a

very nervous 90 minutes and a wait of over 50 years!

On holiday recently in Northumberland, we visited a former woollen mill in Otterburn, where they have what are thought to be the world’s only remaining tenter frames on which

the tenterhooks are located. In the weaving of cloth, washed cloth used to be placed onto the tenterhooks to stretch it as it dried in the sun and wind before further processing.

The mill is best known for weaving the world famous Otterburn Mill Pram Rug, which has enjoyed royal patronage since 1926, when following the birth of Princess Elizabeth, Buckingham Palace requested a custom-made pram rug for the royal pram.

I also found out that the motto of the Worshipful Company of Weavers is to, “weave truth with trust,” a motto perhaps more aptly applied to a group of philosophers or lawyers than cloth makers! In a world where truth telling can seem in short supply and where trust can be fragile and so easily broken, the Christian faith continues to see both values as essential for spiritual integrity, development, and growth.

When Jesus faced trial before Roman governor Pontus Pilate, Jesus told him, “I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth”.

To which Pilate famously responded, ‘what is truth?’ (John 18:36. 38). This question was put to the man who had declared to Thomas his disciple, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6), and on another occasion said to his followers, “you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32).

John’s gospel account does not record Jesus’ reply to Pilate’s question. However, Mathew’s account sees Pilate asking for a bowl of water and then washing his hands in front of the people declaring, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. The responsibility is yours” (Matthew 27:24), thus abdicating his duty in order to condemn Jesus to death, leaving it to mob instead.

As we negotiate life’s rich tapestry, the success of relationships and interactions based on truth and trust will be evident. Tapestries look great from the front but turn them over and underneath what is visible is an entire mess of tangled, untamed threads that make no sense at all.

In life we experience both joys and sorrows, each strand having a place within what contemporary Christian songwriter Stuart Townend calls God’s rich “tapestry of grace.”

May each of us know God’s grace as we continue to weave our own rich and varied tapestry in the coming days.

Janet Smith is Chair of Churches Together in Harborough