Aunt Polly's Patchwork

I was doing a bit of sewing the other day, which put me in mind of my Aunt Polly.  Actually, since she was my great-grandfather’s sister, she was really my great-great-aunt, but my mother always referred to her as Aunt Polly so I shall do the same.


Aunt Polly lived all her life in the little Warwickshire village where she was born.  Her husband was a farm labourer; they lived in a tied cottage and were as poor as the proverbial church mice.  Not that they went to church; they were ‘chapel’, of which there were two in the village: the Primitive Methodist and the Moravian, where Aunt Polly worshipped.  Now, Aunt Polly loved her Saviour and wanted to live for Him.  She also had a heart for the lepers who lived in far-distant countries which she would never visit but whom she longed to help.  But what could she do?  She couldn’t send them any money – she had none.  Aunt Polly was, however, an accomplished needlewoman and so she decided that she would make quilts ‘for the lepers’.  Whether they were sold to generate funds, or actually sent to a leper colony I don’t know, though I hope it was the latter – imagine the joy of receiving something made with such love and care when you were one of society’s outcasts!


Nowadays quiltmakers have a wide choice of beautiful fabrics with which to make their works of art.  Things were different for Aunt Polly!  Her works of art (and I’m sure that’s what they were) were crafted from scraps of fabric left over from other sewing tasks, or the best bits salvaged from a worn-out garment, all carefully stitched by hand and probably embellished with embroidery.  My mother remembered being taken as a child to visit Aunt Polly, and she and my grandmother would always take something for her to use – a length of ribbon, perhaps, or a little piece of lace.  Everything was gratefully received, nothing was wasted.  Visits from a niece who worked for an aristocratic family in London were particularly appreciated as she was responsible for making all her ladyship’s clothes so the scraps she brought were extra-special!  She accompanied her ladyship when the family travelled to Switzerland too.  I like to imagine Aunt Polly’s quilts: a wonderful, harmonious blending of scraps of silks and satins and velvets, fine embroidered Swiss cottons, bits of ribbons and lace from the haberdashery where my grandmother shopped – and the best bits of Aunt Polly’s husband’s old flannel shirts!


A picture of the church, really.  Aren’t we all scraps of sinful humanity, yet chosen by God’s sovereign grace, redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, and being fashioned by the Holy Spirit into something of beauty?  We may see glimpses of that beauty now, but one day the Bride of Christ will be revealed, ‘a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing.’  (Ephesians 5:27)


The church’s one foundation

Is Jesus Christ her Lord;

She is His new creation

By water and the Word;

From heaven He came and sought her

To be His holy bride;

With His own blood He bought her,

And for her life He died.

                                      Samuel J Stone



Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

                                                                                                Revelation 21:2-4