Before it was a verb, “interfacing” was the stiffening fabric that goes inside a garment to give it body and crispness.
I use a particular kind of interfacing in the stoles I make for my small business, Woman of the Cloth. It is called “hair canvas” and it is a blend of several fibers, including 4% horse hair. It is used in the collars and lapels of good quality jackets and coats and it costs almost as much as the beautiful cotton fabrics that are visible in a finished stole.
But the beautiful fabrics that are visible could not do the job without the interfacing hidden inside. The hair canvas gives them substance, helps them to hang evenly, and insures that they will last for many years.
Sermons have interfacing, too – the study and reflection that the preacher does before composing a single sentence. It may not be obvious to the listener that there were hours of research and several discarded drafts, but it is because the pastor has invested time and heart in those that the sermon has strength, coherence, and impact.
Once you start looking for it, interfacing is everywhere: teachers put it in their lesson plans and lectures, carpenters put it in their framing, musicians in their practice, authors in their editing, hostesses in their cooking … a lot of things depend upon sturdy internal scaffolding.
When people buy a stole, they are always choosing a fabric that they love. But what they are buying is just decorated interfacing.
Prayer: Gracious God, we thank you for the sturdy internal scaffolding that makes things strong and beautiful. Be present in our lives like interfacing, making our work strong and beautiful, whatever it is. Amen.