|Karen conference in N Thailand ©tkBeyond|
Picture a tapestry woven with five different colors of thread. Choose some bold colors like red, blue, green, and perhaps some purple and gold. Or choose your own colors and imagine someone at a weaver’s frame with five different shuttles. The tapestry begins to take shape as the weaver moves the shuttles back and forth across the frame. It may take some time before you see the completed fabric, but when finished it will be bold and beautiful.
In my travels and ministry in northern Thailand, I’ve been blessed to see some beautiful weaving firsthand. Many of the Karen (Kayin) people are refugees within western Thailand because of persecution by the Burmese dictatorship in Myanmar. Originally, Karen people were from the southern and eastern portion of Burma, now called Myanmar.
The design and colors selected by the Karen in their woven garments and bags have significance. The direction of stripes is an indication of gender. If the stripes run vertical, this indicates a male (regardless of age), and if horizontal, the person is female. The colors and patterns also have significance to geography and tribal origins. The weaving is not random, but has meaning.
In this passage from Matthew’s gospel (Matt 4:12-25), I see five threads woven into a tapestry of Jesus’ gospel message and the ministry flowing from it. These five threads are elements of gospel ministry woven throughout all four of the Gospels, and are the focus of this chapter. Each thread is an element that belongs in ministry wherever the gospel is made known. As God’s tapestry was being woven, the early disciples could not see it, nor did the crowds who followed Him. When it was completed, it was much different than they expected. Hopefully, the tapestry of gospel ministry will become clearer, more vibrant, and more personal for you in exploring God’s story.
This is an excerpt from my soon to be published book, The Mystery of the Gospel. This is the beginning of a chapter I'll be posting in part from week to week. If you like it, share it—see the sharing options in the right-hand border of this blog... thanks for reading!
Also—a mission team from our Filipino home church in Dumaguete City is now in Thailand working with our missionary friends, the Johansen's, among the Karen... please pray for fruitful ministry, thanks!