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This Week at St Mary’s

One in a Million

The Ardabil Carpet, completed in 1539-40, first came to London in 1892. William Morris the artist and designer described it as “a remarkable work of art… the design is of singular perfection… the size and splendour as a piece of workmanship do full justice to the beauty and intellectual qualities of the design.” It is now permanently displayed at the V and A Museum, London.


The carpet is over 34 x 17 ft and with 340 knots to the square inch, I calculate there are nearly 30 million knots – each one a beautiful red, blue, yellow, green, etc. They all contribute something towards, as Morris describes it, the ‘singular beauty’.


This for me well illustrates each of our place in God’s New Creation. Our instinct isn’t it, is to think individually; ‘one in a million’ means we need to stand out in some way(s). With God, it’s the opposite. None of us will be anything unless we are part of the (much, much) bigger whole – of which by grace we are part. There is no ‘murmuration’ unless there are thousands of starlings flying and swooping in spectacular formation.  Every bottle of vintage Dom Perignon has many grapes, each ripened in the champagne sun before being picked.    

Life now for us is to do now as things will be in God’s New Creation. Each of us has to work out how we are meaningfully part of a community of fellow Christians – with its diversity and richness. This will involve more than just turning up (now tuning in) on a Sunday, for a service – although that is a great part of it. Allowing our lives to intersect with others, being there for one another, together praying, learning and giving of ourselves is how each individual knot is woven into the whole.

Tom Gillum

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