Have you ever been completely undone by a tapestry?
In June of 2017, we were among some of the last people to ever have the profound privilege to enter the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall and view the Arts of the Kingdom exhibition that was housed there under the sponsorship of the Queen Sirikit Institute. It closed indefinitely to the public in October 2017 to honor the passing of King Rama 9.
The Throne Hall itself is impressive with paintings on every wall and domed ceiling, depicting various events of historical significance to the kingdom of Thailand. I wish I had pictures I could show you of the inside of Throne Hall’s beautiful 2-story construction and of the 7 domes that make up this architectural masterpiece. However, photography inside of the Throne Hall was strictly prohibited as they did not want anyone taking photos and somehow misrepresenting the Kingdom and this artwork. That is how highly the Thai honor their king. I don’t know if we who do not live in an earthly kingdom can even fully understand that.
As I mentioned at the time of our visit, the Throne Hall also housed the Arts of the Kingdom Exhibition, made up of royal thrones, models of barges, a room decorated with beetle wings (yes you read that right), wooden and golden screens… and tapestries… oh the tapestries.
I remember vividly standing in front of a 31.5 foot long by 14 foot tall tapestry and being moved to tears by the exquisite detail of the silk thread embroidery that took 143 craftsmen 4 years to produce. This tapestry is not a single dimensional masterpiece, instead the artisans employed a method called “pak soy” where the finest silk threads are overlapped to enhance the shading of the colors and light, making it look more real. The artisans also padded some parts of the pattern, such as the lead characters in the story told by the tapestry and added sequins to further enhance the key elements. (Pictures cannot do it full justice but I do encourage you to check out this work!)
Have you ever been undone by a tapestry?
I remember thinking to myself as I stood there completely undone by this tapestry that if an earthly king and queen are considered worthy of such love and extravagant worship by their subjects, how much more worthy is the Creator of Heaven and Earth. I have rarely spent four or more years of my life on one thing. College. My career. And yet, 143 artisans found their king worthy of pouring out their time, energy, talent, skill, and devotion all day every day for four years.
This picture came to my mind once again when I was sitting down with a friend and partner recently over dinner and began to tell us a story by saying, “Have you ever seen a tapestry? Like a really exquisite tapestry?”
Johnna went on to explain how she had seen a tapestry years before at a museum and the threads were considered so delicate and the tapestry so valuable that they only allowed lights to shine on it for a few minutes before turning off again to protect and preserve it so others could see it.
Johnna shared how the Lord had shown her our lives are like a thread in that tapestry. All the threads come together to form something exquisite, but at the time all we see is the tension of the moment as our thread is being pulled through the fabric of time. We do not see how our thread intersects the others or the larger picture the Lord is creating.
Johnna felt she got to step back and see the bigger picture at a missions share we had at Rez recently. There we shared how the Lord had originally called me (Amy) to Thailand through a Rock the Nations event at Rez, 22 years ago, when I was in high school. It was then it all came together for Johnna. Years ago friends of hers had gone out to Kansas City and had brought back some information about opportunities that she could pursue after high school, stating simply that they had thought of her. One of those was an internship with Rock the Nations. She had never heard of Rock the Nations at the time, but she felt the Lord was in it and she pursued it. Johnna reminisced about some of her experiences during the internship. Then she shared about how at the end of her year, neither she nor Rock the Nations felt she was supposed to stay on for another year, but as she was leaving they asked her if she would approach her home church, Rez, about doing an event there.
Since Johnna had a connection with the youth pastor at Rez and felt strongly about Rock the Nation’s passion to return the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers (Malachi 4:6), she said of course. Johnna was the one who introduced Rez to Rock the Nations.
“I didn’t see it until that moment when you shared that you were called to Thailand through a Rock the Nations Event, but even my internship wasn’t just about me, though I did receive from that internship. It was about the Lord positioning things so that you could have your moment at Rock the Nations and He could move on your heart and call you to the nation of Thailand. And now it’s come full circle. I remember the day Eric [her husband] went on a Treasure Hunt with Matt at Heaven Fest and he told me after that you guys were going to Thailand. I told him of course we would partner with you. I didn’t know then how the Lord had set things up for the thread of my life to create the scene in which He would call you. And then He brought everything back full circle for us to partner with you and be a part of what you are doing in Thailand. And I think too of all the moments your being there is creating for others, in ways you can’t even understand now.”
And once again, I find myself undone by a tapestry of a different sort. The one our wonderful Artisan has been crafting through my life and the lives of others, even in the moments we were unaware.