A Persian poet wrote 'Broad is the carpet God has spread and beautiful are its colours'. A Persian carpet is durable because of the long, arduous weaving process where the tough warp and weft hold together hundreds of woollen and silken knots that create its pattern, provide its richness of colour, its depth of texture and make of it one whole. The imperfections are woven into the design; sometimes an imperfection is deliberately created and the fringes around the edges will wear in time because they are unsupported by the weft and the knots.
Some years ago, I remember calling it 'ballast for the soul'. It was an awareness of the strength that comes from the many varied strands that make up our Unitarian religious perspective; Christian, Theist, Pagan, Buddhist, Mystic, Agnostic amongst others - none of these strands in any way a weakness, or a fatal flaw at the heart of our Unitarian religious identity, but a hard won strength borne out of the struggle to bear witness to religious differences in a complex world, a struggle not to capitulate to any one view, however persuasively argued.
Of course, the struggle goes on. Some strands seem to shine more brightly at certain times; a pattern emerges that feels the right one to follow but then life experience moves us in a different direction, a new perspective opens up and we go on weaving the path and the pattern that gives life meaning at that time.
Maybe here the analogy breaks down because, unlike the carpet that might adorn our homes, there isn't a finished product. We just go on creating it, all the time connected and strengthened by the process and by the people who accompany us on the journey. And because our lives are messy and complex and nothing is ever fixed like a Grecian urn or a Persian carpet, we find our truth in the process and that is good enough.
Rev. Margaret Kirk