To God’s beloved people at John Wesley:
Throughout this holy season of Lent, our Youth Sunday School class has been working on a project related to our theme of Cultivating & Letting Go. You may recall a Sunday in worship when we asked for your help: in each pew were squares of paper, and we asked you to write or draw something that God has been cultivating in you during these forty days.
Our youth have taken those squares of paper, which were simple but beautiful, and transformed them into works of art through origami. And as we worked together on folding and transforming, we gave thanks for the work God is doing in and through members of our congregation. And we have a few lessons we learned along the way to share with you.
- The work of transformation takes time. Even the simplest origami folds require patience. You must make sure the edges of the paper line up, check that you’ve turned your paper the right way to match the instructions, have patience when the flower you’re trying to make doesn’t look anything at all like a flower. It’s like that with God’s work in the world, too: even when we want things to happen quickly, sometimes we have to be patient and wait for a new thing to emerge.
- Mistakes don’t get the final say. Each of us, in our origami work, made at least one mistake. It happens. And while mistakes and setbacks can be frustrating, they’re often not even noticeable in the finished product. The paper is forgiving, it can be refolded. Our mistakes gave us a chance to step back, take a deep breath, and begin our work again.
- Beauty often arises out of ordinary things. Much of our origami paper was beautiful to begin with, covered in colorful patterns. But once it was transformed into hearts, birds, flowers, and so many other shapes… it was even more beautiful! And when all those colorful, patterned shapes are gathered together, it was clear that ordinary paper had become extraordinary. That’s who God calls us to be as a church: ordinary people gathered together into something extraordinary, in all different shapes and colors.
For Easter Sunday, we hung our origami shapes on a seemingly-dead tree that has been in the corner of the Sanctuary throughout Lent. A few dead branches that we hardly even noticed suddenly became full of color, a sign of God’s promise of new life among us. We hope that, when you see this colorful tree, you’ll be reminded of all that God is cultivating in you. Maybe you’ll even think of new insights about God’s transforming work in the world and in our lives.