Sunday, 10 September 2017


I recently spent a week at Summer School, serving as minister of the week. Now one of the traditions that has developed there over the years are the knitting circles. There is always a group of knitters, working away throughout the week. They even have a "knitting policy" and guidelines for knitters who wish to practice while listening to the theme talks. Some people find the knitters a little distracting.

A few years ago when I attended Summer School it seemed like they had taken over the place, everyone was knitting. There was a charitable project going so it was for a very good reason. I remember at the time saying “You’d never get me knitting” In fact I said “The only time you’d see me knitting is if Bill Darlison did." Now I thought Bill was my friend. Well he set me up good and proper because on the last day they got him to pose for a picture with needles and yarn in his hands and lap. It brought a great deal of laughter, but did not lead me to pick up the needles.

This year there was a group of three knitters that particularly caught my attention. They were always together, it seemed strange to see one without the others. In a odd way they kind of held the week together, a bit like the rug in the film “The Big Lebowski”. They were one of the many stabilising and creative threads that weaved their way through the week. All were needed.

While I was away at Summer School I began to weave a new thread into my attempt to live the four aspects, “The Four Realms”, of my human being more fully. “The Four Realms” are mind, body, heart and spirit. Each morning, before breakfast we were offered the opportunity to be led in either meditation or yoga. I went to meditation the first morning, but after that I decided to give yoga a go. I’d been considering it for a few months, but hadn’t taken the plunge. Well it seems I’m hooked and since I got back I’ve been following a teaching on line every morning, on awakening, after a short time in prayer and meditation. It is a new thread that is helping to weave together the four aspects, realms, dimensions, of my human being. As I have been practising I have felt the thread that runs through my being both lengthening and strengthening.

Ever since I returned from Summers School I’ve been thinking about the many threads that make up my life and the web of creation, made of infinite threads that both holds and creates all life.

In many of the human traditions there are enumerable web and weaving mythos’. The stories describe a creature or perhaps spirit that guides human beings through life, that runs through all of life and holds life together. I have come to believe that we each of us have this very same thread in us, in fact maybe we as individuals are one thread on the universal web of all life, that without our thread and every other thread the web would not exist. The web is what creates, holds and sustains us, but at the same time we create the very same web of existence. Many of the great stories of the ancient traditions speak of this. In the Christian tradition I always think of the Kingdom of God, as being an example of this. You see the Kingdom is not some place we wish to arrive at some day, but something we build or maybe weave right here, right now. We are the builders, we are weavers or we are the destroyers of the web, the kingdom or as I prefer to call it these days, the “kin-dom”.

Now in many traditions there is the mythos of “The Spirit’s Thread” You will find it in the Navajo tradition, and in traditions found in Alaska and Japan. By the way there may be good reason for this, as studies of migrational history suggest that all three peoples’s originate from a tribe that dispersed from Siberia. Both Navajo and the Japanese traditions share a reverence for the larger interconnected net that holds all of life together, the web of life.

In “The Exquisite Risk: Daring to Live An Authentic Life” Mark Nepo writes of this. He states:

“The Navajo honor this connection in everything they do. Even when weaving rugs to lie on the earth, the Navajo worldview is present. For somewhere in each rug there is always a single thread that connects the inner weavings to the outer weavings. This affirms a spiritual law which says that if we are to know health, if we are to experience the mystery of being whole, if we are to know joy, there has to be a thread or inlet that allows what lives within out and which allows what lives without in. Indeed, only if in and out are allowed to inform each other can we live in the mystery and strength of the Great Spirit.

This is the Spirit's Thread, which love makes visible. It exists in everything. The thread of Spirit - there in the rock and the rose and the dark heart waiting to be known. And in order to befriend the Whole, in order to stay in relationship with all that is larger than us, we are invited to care for our Spirit's Thread. We are invited to honor the Spirit's Thread in everything, so the light hidden in the rock sand the blood hidden in the rose might help revive our dark and waiting heart.

So, what does the Spirit's Thread mean, then, in a daily way? I think this beautiful notion implies that we are called to care for the small, thin thing that lives in each of us, that connects who we are to the world. We can understand that small passageway as our breath, our heart, or openness of mind. It is the vital tether by which we can tremble in awe at the infinite power and gentleness of life.”

It is vital that we take care of this thread that is our life, body, mind, heart and soul and that we continue to weave into the web of all existence. That we fully play our part in creating and recreating the web. For if we do not we will not be playing our part in the whole and we will feel disconnected, no longer a part of the whole.

Now at times our thread may become a little threadbare, an aspect may become weakened. When this happens we need to take stock and perhaps do what is required to fix our thread or perhaps do more work to repair the damaged whole.

Now the web does not only exist in the present moment. It began to be weaved at the beginning of time and will continue on into eternity, when we are long gone. That said we have played our role in co-creating the whole. As our ancestors did, those who came before us. As I look back at my own life I can see a kind of personal tapestry being weaved and not by myself alone. I did not create this wholly alone, so many other lives have weaved their way into my life and helped create who I am, just as I have weaved my way into the lives of others. There is no neutrality in life, everything is connected. Everything that we do and do not do matters. Every thought, every word, every feeling. It matters for we are all part of the great interconnected whole.

Now for me the main purpose of spiritual community is to aid and encourage both the repair and enhancing of our individual threads while also creating, repairing and beautifying the whole. This is what Rev Dr Martin Luther King called “Beloved Community”, the Kingdom of God right here right now. This is the kind of faith community that is based around responsibility in humility. Not one that expects God to do the weaving alone but for each individual to bring their uniquely beautiful thread and weave it into community, turning up, entering into relationship willingly, learning how to weave their individual gifts to make the most of the whole, which is greater than the sum of its parts. To me this is true religion. Religion comes from the word religiere which meant to bind together and create more than could be done alone with the individual parts. Our single threads, no matter how well developed, no matter how powerful and beautiful can achieve very little alone, in fact they are pretty useless and certainly lonely on their own. This is the greatest problem of spirituality without community, in truth it doesn’t really work. Yet each individual thread weaved into the whole, playing its part, can create something way more beautiful than any of us could ever have imagined.

We are here for a purpose, there is a mighty meaning to our lives. Our lives and the lives of all depend on us taking care of the threads that make up our individual lives and the weaving of our threads as deeply as we can into the web of all existence. As we look at ourselves, our families, our communites, our world, no doubt we can see may tears in the web of existence, tears that won’t heal themselves. It is our task to repair the damage by weaving our threads together. In so doing we not only repair the whole, but we also beautify and strengthen our own threads. In so doing we will begin to create the “Kin-dom of Love” right here right now, we become the “Beloved Community”, we become the ones we have all been waiting for.


  1. Another great post Danny! Thanks for contributing to my thread and its development, I hope I will be able to contribute to yours too.

  2. Thank you Steve. You most certainly are my friend. Best wishes