Sunday, November 28, 2010

Church cleaning

Yesterday was Tetsu and my turn to clean the church. Since we live closest it is a quicky chore that we do once a month. All the pews get moved either to the front and then to the back of the room and the place is vacuumed and then dry mopped. Vacuum upstairs in the small Sunday School room, clean the two bathrooms, sometimes wipe down the pews too and then move them back into place. The whole process takes about 30 minutes.

Twice a year though the church floors are waxed and this always turns out to be an all day process. Everything gets taken outside, the pews (which were constructed INSIDE the building) can't be taken out and so they are pushed forward while the floors behind them are waxed TWICE... and then all the waiting for the wax to dry in-between. Some years we have 10 people waiting around while the wax is drying so yesterday Tetsu and I waxed the back of the room and today after church the front part will be waxed.

Japanese churches don't have the budget to hire janitors or organists etc. The members take turns or use their talents where needed and flowers are picked from the garden or a potted plant is brought over from the pastor's house. Some churches will have members that have studied ikebana, flower arranging, but none of us are blessed with that talent.

In the entryway of our church is a New Testament quilt that my friend Kaoru-san (the solitary Sunday School teacher) made. A few years ago Kaoru-san learned patchwork from me for awhile and she put a lot of effort went into hand sewing this New Testament sampler quilt. When Kaoru-san was finally done she immediately gave it to the church which I have always thought an enormous act of love. Can you figure out what the different blocks are?

Bethlehem star. The Holy Spirit descending as a dove. The star and the cross (Jesus' life). The grape basket (fruit of the Spirit). The palm branches (entry into Jerusalem). The crown of thorns. The cross and the crown of glory. Worlds without end (Eternal life). The butterfly (Resurrection).

Kaoru-san chose her favorite Bible verse to embroider in the center.

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks.
Thessalonians 5:16-18

The original pattern was developed by Sandra Shigeno, a missionary in Japan and I have made this quilt numerous times and taught it often... I wonder how many New Testament quilts are out there in the world thanks to Sandra. It is actually only a part of a Bible sampler quilt and I have never made the complete quilt though I have the patterns squirreled away somewhere.

"Rejoice always!" even when waxing!

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