I’m more than halfway through Stone Crossings by L.L. Barkat, but I often go back to re-read what came before. And I’m hung up on the crimson (scarlet) worm, the towla worm, that she describes
The crimson “worm” is really an insect, a grub. About the size of a little berry. When the time is ripe, the wingless female climbs up a tree and attaches herself to it. There she lays her eggs, births a family. She excretes a crimson juice that covers her “children” and leaves a red stain on the wood. She dies so they can live.
Back in the day, folks harvested the bodies and crushed them to make a scarlet dye. L.L. puts it this way:
Such colorful artistry was not lost on the ancients. They gathered this scarlet creature and crushed her to produce a crimson dye. And crimson, right up there with blue and purple, was used to dye wildly expensive clothing and tapestries. So it seems that Jesus, crushed in shame, offers to cover my nakedness–not only with the linen of his life, but also with an exotic color reserved for the rich and royal.
Just picturing this wine-crimson grace, I feel my soul tingle, as if it’s growing wings. And the shame of my past, though real, cannot keep me earthbound.
This reminds me again of the Hebrew word tiqvah, translated “hope” in Ruth 1:12 when Naomi says, “If I had hope . . . “
Tiqvah is first used in Joshua 2:18 and translated “cord.” David’s other great-great grandmother, Rahab, the Gentile harlot, tied a cord in her window, and her family was saved when the walls of Jericho fell.
A scarlet cord. Likely stained with the crushed body of a towla worm.