LesLong-time St. Andrew’s member and former Treasurer Les Oling passed away in late December and the celebration of his life was held on Monday, January 4.  We will remember Les’ commitment to family, his work and church. Below is part of Rev. Lois Punton’s meditation from the service for Les.
Relationships were important to Les and this is evidenced in his involvement and activity in life, in his faith community and with the people for whom he cared most. Les also shared himself by sharing his talent through offering gifts to others. Les shared his talents and himself willingly.
Les had many creative outlets including writing, gardening, painting, and rug hooking and another one of the hobbies Les enjoyed was knitting. I have some creative talents, but they do not rest in my hands. So a number of years ago, I stepped outside my box and took a course called Purls of Wisdom: The Art of Contemplative Knitting. I learned just the basics but I opened myself to the possibility and learned to knit. I discovered a passion that speaks to faith and intimate relationship with God. Les was knitter. He developed a great talent using a loom and created projects that he shared with others, especially through the Mitten Tree at St. Andrew’s United Church. He offered gifts of warmth and care that were shared with others who needed them. He did this in the same way that he shared his love and care with his family, his friends and his faith community in so many ways.
While learning to knit, Psalm 139 kept running through my mind and wrapping around my heart: “For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
It is amazing to me that with one continuous thread and a couple of sticks or a loom, beautiful fabric in all sorts of shapes and sizes can be created, with no two pieces ever exactly alike. It is a visual example of our intimate creation by God. God takes the thread of light and love and weaves and wraps it together to create us. As we live and work, worship and celebrate with our creator, we weave and wrap the thread together to create the fabric of our lives- occasionally a stitch gets dropped or added or the tension of the yarn is too tight or too loose, but God uses these imperfections or design opportunities to draw us close if we allow it. It is these places in our lives that offer us the opportunity to allow ourselves, the created, to spend time with the Creator, to find ways to take them from flaw to design. The outcome of this process is a piece of work with purpose and incredible beauty that is known intimately by the one who created it and also, that is ready to be shared with others. It reflects the love and intimacy we are called to in our relationship with God, the one who began knitting us together at our very beginning. The one who continues to wrap that thread of love and light, creating the fabric of our lives until the end and who then draws us through to experience the new light and life promised us by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
The artist sees not just the thread of yarn, but all the possibilities it holds. God’s light shines on us to illuminate all the possibilities we hold as we are wrapped and woven by God’s loving touch.
Friends, we believe as people of faith and spirit that when a person dies, as Les Oling has died, that person meets their God face to face. We will all experience this one day. What words were spoken or exchanged when first they met we do not know, but we need not know, for we are confident that the God who sees not just the thread of yarn, but all the possibilities it holds will be the one who meets Les, and knowing this, and trusting in this God alone and in nothing else, we can in confidence place Les in our hearts into the eternal, loving, merciful, and life-giving care of God. Amen.Les' knitting banner - 1