World Communion 2014

“One and Many” (After Teilhard)

This is an altar cloth for World Communion, Earth Day, and other celebrations during ordinary time.

The Inspiration: Pierre Teilhard de Chardin has been one of my guiding lights for many years. As you probably know, he was a French Jesuit paleontologist and theologian who was silenced by the Catholic Church for his unorthodox views. My favorite work of his is Hymn of the Universe (1961). Within that book is his beautiful soliloquy “The Mass on the World.”

This is an altar cloth for World Communion, Earth Day, and other celebrations during ordinary time.

Teilhard found himself in the outback of China on a Sunday and had no elements with which to celebrate communion. In this context, he saw the world itself as the offering. “Over every living thing which is to spring up, to grow, to flower, to ripen during this day say again the words: This is my body. And over every death-force which waits in readiness to corrode, to wither, to cut down speak again your commanding words which express the supreme mystery of faith: This is my blood.”

The title is taken from the Pensees #1, “The Presence of God in the World,“ where he writes “…element and totality, the one and the many, mind and matter, the infinite and the personal.”

Description: The altar cloth depicts an abstract landscape on the front and back. Blue water containing fish as living water is at the lowest level. Above that is greenery of vegetation and hills. The service area of the top has three green circles referencing the Trinity. This is covered in a collage of vintage hand-made table linens, each unique, embroidered on 100% Irish linen.

Paraments for the Pulpit and lectern are made of the same materials but with more explicit reference to bread and wine.

Materials: In solidarity with the less fortunate (in thought at least) and as a creative challenge, all materials used, except thread and fabric paint, are recycled or up-cycled materials. These include vintage table linens, thrift store clothing (washed), left over materials from previous projects, curtains, a sari, and a prom dress. The lining is a bed sheet.