by Susan P. Harris
Last summer, I attended camp at Lutheridge in the North Carolina mountains with my granddaughter. We were there with other families–parents with their children and grandparents with their grandchildren. We enjoyed the usual camp activities, like hiking and swimming, and Bible study for the adults.
Just before departing for home, we all gathered in a circle around the flagpole. As part of the closing ceremony, a skein of colorful yarn was passed from one hand to the next, with each person holding onto the strand. Then a counselor came around the circle with a pair of scissors, snipping the long strand into shorter lengths, leaving each camper holding a piece of the yarn. We each tied the yarn around our wrist, or ankle, to remind us that we were all part of something larger.
For as long as it stayed on my wrist, I faithfully wore my bracelet of bright purple yarn. When I looked at it, it reminded me of the fun we had and the experiences we shared. The yarn also reminded me of the people–both young and old–that we met, and the friendships forged that week at camp.
That piece of yarn was a constant reminder of that week spent at family camp with my granddaughter.
Reminders of being together
What if every experience we had, every group we participated in, or every place we met with others, we had received a different color bracelet of yarn to wear? We would have an arm filled with colorful yarn ribbons, like a rainbow, a symbol of belonging, of togetherness. We could use those reminders now that we can’t be with others.
We could wear a bracelet as a symbol that binds us with our biological family members or our congregation. There may be a different yarn bracelet that connects us with a civic organization, or a book club, or a professional group.
Our life experiences have united us with others in so many ways, but first and foremost, we are all united as children of God. As the words of the familiar hymn say, “Blest be the tie that binds, our hearts in Christian love” (ELW 656).
We might not have a ribbon of yarn tied around our wrists, and we might not be able to be together physically, but we have a bond that unites us all in one large circle of humanity. We are all tied together, created in the image of God.
Susan P. Harris is past president of the North Carolina Synodical Women’s Organization and a life-long member of Salem Lutheran Church, Lincolnton, N.C. Married with two grown children and five grandchildren, she serves on the North Carolina Synod Council.