I use to sit and watch my grandmother sew all kinds of things. In fact, both of my grandmothers and my mother have a natural talent for piecing together fabrics. Quilting. Cross-stitching. Hemming. You name it, they can make or fix it with a needle and thread.
I always enjoy watching them use their gift of sewing, but that’s as far as my involvement ever extends. These matriarchs of the family have looked up countless times from a sewing task to ask me if I want to try. I always respond with a smile, polite no, and go finish a book I am reading. I have no desire to learn how to quilt, stitch, or hem.
Or “sew” I thought. (Did you catch that pun?)
Turns out, I do have a desire to sew, but it’s only one thing. Curtains. Specifically, the Temple curtain.
Have you heard of this curtain? It’s also known as the veil, and it was the barrier in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem separating where God dwelt on one side, and man on the other. Only holy priests were allowed beyond this veil. But the day Jesus sacrificed Himself on the cross, scripture tells us the veil was torn in two (Matthew 27:51). There was now no barrier between man and God. Jesus eliminated this with His death, and we can now go before God anytime and anywhere. The curtain represented sin, but sin no longer keeps us from God. Sounds wonderful doesn’t it? And, it is.
Unless you take up sewing the curtain back as I have done.
That curtain was torn so we have direct access to God, yet distance is too often the very thing we create between the Lord and ourselves. How do we form this distance? Below are three ways we take up the needle and thread, figuratively sewing back the barrier God brought down for us.
We might pray, but only about the major things. When huge blessings or conflicts arise, those are the things we pray about. Rarely are we going to God about the daily encounters of life. We feel some topics are just too small to talk to a busy God about. We see no need to talk to Him about our struggle with carpooling when things like ISIS exist. Our requests seem trivial next to larger crisis of the world, so we remain silent. Silence in prayer, about anything, creates distance with God. We sew the curtain back by doing this.
We go to church on Sunday, place money in the offering plate, come close to God as we worship and study His Word, but then leave. For the next 6 days we don’t open the Bible again. Monday’s outreach at the soup kitchen takes up too much of our time. Tuesday’s small group seems silly. Skipping Wednesday night service is easy. And they already have enough help for Thursday-Saturday’s vacation Bible school. We develop excuses for not involving ourselves in anything else that revolves around Him beyond Sunday. The gap we create between God and us from Monday to Saturday night is another way we sew and hang the curtain.
And then, there’s placing God on a pedestal of reverence that is so far above us, we feel that out of respect we can do no other than keep a safe distance from Him. We wear our best clothes on Sunday, only approaching Him with designer brands and nice jewelry on. We don’t write in our Bibles because the only words we need are neatly written in small font and Old English. We close our eyes and bow our heads when we pray because we think our God hears us best when we don’t look at Him. And in the meantime, our strict code of reverence keeps the curtain pieced together. God certainly deserves respect, but we have turned this respect into a facade of serving a God who is so omniscient, He is out of our reach. Ugh. This defeats the purpose of why He tore the veil!
John Eldredge wrote in his book Beautiful Outlaw, “ When Jesus died that most holiest of curtains was ripped in half. Torn, top to bottom. And who was it that did that? Surely not the priests. It was God himself. He took that veil and ripped it in two. So why do we insist on stitching it back up?”
This is a convicting question I have been looking to answer. Here I am, a woman with no desire to sew, trying to do just that with the very curtain God ripped for me. Why do I do this? Why do you?
I believe Satan plays a large role in this. He feeds us lies.
Lies that some of our prayers are more trivial than others.
Lies that the only time we need with God we are a few hours on Sunday.
Lies that the God we serve is out of our reach.
Lies that the temple curtain needs to be sewn back together, and we are not to enter into a close and intimate relationship with God.
These are all lies I have used to justify my sewing the curtain back. I have continually tried to re-hang the veil blocking me from being in His presence. But not anymore! I am done sewing curtains, and I am done listening to the lies of Satan!
Will you join me? Say this prayer below with me, and let’s stop distancing ourselves from God! He tore the veil! Let’s draw near to Him!
Lord, forgive me for trying to sew back the curtain You have ripped in two. What a gift You have given me; the opportunity to have a complete and intimate relationship with You because the veil is gone! Help me see when I pick up the needle and thread and begin placing a barrier back between us. Help me see Satan’s lies, and how these lies are keeping me from You! I no longer want to sew in this way, but instead only draw nearer to You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
What other ways can we sew up the curtain meant to stay torn in two? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
If you liked this post, you might want to read Dancing Between Two Gods