Wonderfully Made

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Contributing Writer
Pastor Shawn Hannon
Hope Lutheran Church, Arcade, NY

It’s a quilt show weekend at the congregation I serve and that has got me thinking: How many stitches does it take to make a quilt? Like how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, we may never know but in one quilt I looked at there were over 50 in one 2″x2″ square. That quilt was over 13,000 square inches in total. That means a conservative guess is that quilt has over 160,000 hand-quilted stiches holding the layers together. Which, of course, doesn’t count the machined stitches holding the pieces themselves together or the border, the binding, or the back. How many stitches does this quilt have? A million—legitimately—would be a very reasonable guess. And every one of them stitched by hands of a thoughtful creator.

Quilts can teach us so many things. For starters, every quilt—from the smallest to the largest—started as something else: a pile of pieces. And that’s what makes it beautiful. On the outside they are beautiful, in the middle they are frayed—but no one but the creator gets to see that. Many are made from the exact same pattern block, but when it is rotated and laid out it looks different and new.

But the most important thing we can learn from quilts is that every one of them is carefully and beautifully made. The Psalmist praises God saying, “you knit me together in my mother’s womb.14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (139:13b-14a).

Hundreds of people will journey hundreds of miles to see the quilts displayed at Hope. No kidding. They will do it because they appreciate the craft. They will do it because they like to marvel at the beauty. Some will do it for the chicken and biscuits lunch.

As I look at the beautiful quilts, I am reminded that I am no less wonderfully made. And I hope you will remember that as well. Like an artist pouring themself into their craft, God has knit you together and you are wonderful. One million stitches cannot compare to the unfathomable amount of love and attention that poured into you.

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Pastor Shawn Hannon
Pastor Shawn is a 2010 graduate of the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina, and he began his call at Hope Lutheran Church, Arcade NY that summer. While he spent four years learning and serving churches in South and North Carolina, as a Jamestown, NY native, Western New York has always been home. He is glad to be here. Pastor Shawn and his wife Carol Hannon met while attending SUNY Geneseo in the mid-2000s. They have enjoyed making their home together in Arcade with their daughters Quinn and Perry.   Pastor Shawn has a background in youth and outdoor ministry. He is a former camper and staff person at Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center in Bemus Point, NY. He has also served camps in urban settings and oversees in Madagascar. In seminary he was recognized for gifts in Greek and New Testament, and in his senior year was recognized with awards in both Preaching and Biblical Studies. Pastor Shawn continues to emphasize the youth in his ministry, but not simply because they are the future church, but because they are the church of today.  He also enjoys working on service projects, and takes the role of planning meaningful and engaging worship seriously.  He loves helping people find ways to put their passion and energy to work making their community and other people’s worlds a better place. When he is not working at church, Shawn enjoys remodeling and construction projects around his family’s home.  But as busy as he gets, PS always has time for a quick nine (okay, 18) on the golf course. He enjoys playing sports of all kinds and fiddling with his guitar.