“Lydia, a dealer in purple,” and friend to Paul the apostle (Acts 16): this is who Aeliana, the gifted young weaver in Cat Born to the Purple, finds herself at the end of Yeshua’s Loom. How a penniless Galilean exile weaving at a loom in a purple factory on the Phoenician coast becomes Lydia, a wealthy merchant in Macedonian Philippi, is the tale of this 5th volume in the Yeshua’s Cats series.
Yeshua’s Loom picks up Cat Born to the Purple’s story with Aeliana, her betrothed husband Chariton, her foster mother Tirzah, and two cats descended from the sacred cats of Bubastis onboard a ship bound for Chariton’s home in Miletos. Once they reach their journey’s end, they must find a way around his aristocratic Roman parents’ objections to Aeliana, as well as the Roman laws forbidding a Roman citizen’s marriage to a foreigner. But even more challenging is the task Yeshua has laid upon Aeliana herself: to release her grip on her old pain and let him heal her completely. This becomes the work of her lifetime, as every new grief she suffers only thickens her scars, and her mother-in-law’s coiling evil entangles her feet.
Three cats with the gift of understanding human thought take turns as guides and narrators: Aeliana’s cat Purple Gleaming in Shadow, who accompanies her throughout her travels; the powerful male Nightfire, drawn away from the temple courts of Perga by visions and dreams to bond with Chariton; and Yeshua’s own cat Mari, called Wind on Water by cat-kind. Mari lives with Aeliana’s family for several years, sent to them by Yeshua as a wise guide while Maryam of Magdala journeys abroad.
Years of mingled love and tragedy bring Aeliana to a crisis of healing at last—and to Philippi, where she desires only to weave and dye her cloth, and live her life in peace, unknown and invisible to the shadows haunting her past. But just as Yeshua’s hand has guided Aeliana through her life until now, he has also drawn her to this unlikely colony of Roman veterans, where her compassion and hard-won openness to his will are the tools needed to point Paul up the path toward his own wholeness—and change the course of Christian faith.
Supporting characters from three of the four previous books in the Yeshua’s Cats series come together again in Yeshua’s Loom. Maryam of Magdala, Mari, and Aeliana first appear in The Gospel According to Yeshua’s Cat: Aeliana is Eliana there, the young woman Yeshua heals when she is stoned and left for dead after a false accusation of adultery. In The Cats of Rekem, Paul spends much of the weeks immediately after his conversion in rancorous conversation with Maryam and Mari. And all but Paul appear together in Cat Born to the Purple.