It hit me as I was reading Margaret Feinberg’s Scouting the Divine. I was in the first section, where she is visiting the shepherdess woman and talking about all the Bible study she had done on sheep, and it knocked me upside the head. Of course that’s it! The shawl is it! Knitting is it!
I am a shepherd. Well, maybe I should say I used to be a shepherd of people. Now I’m just shepherding my family. But, when I was working I was a minister (an associate minister, but still a minister), which means I was a shepherd. And part of my ministry was working with children. My favorite thing, with the 3-10 year olds, was Godly Play. And of all the Bible stories taught in Godly Play, my favorites are Abram & Sarai and the Good Shepherd stories. (“I am the Good Shepherd. I know each of my sheep by name and they know the sound of my voice.”)
What do shepherds work with? Sheep.
And what do sheep provide? Meat and wool.
And what do we do with meat and wool? We (well some of us) eat the meat and we wear the wool.
But how do we wear the wool? Well, some of it is worn as pieced together pelts, but most of the time the wool is shaved off the sheep, cleaned and spun into yarn that is then woven and/or knitted into garments and hats and mittens and scarves and shawls.
Shawls! Yes! The Forgiveness Project! Oh, it’s all starting to make sense now. The shepherd has a lot of yarn. Some of it is being knit into a shawl to be given as a token of forgiveness to a particular person (remember, Jesus said “Love your enemies” and “Forgive them 70 times 7”?).
Do you hear the echo now?
Margaret Feinberg’s other book (which I haven’t read yet, but now I know I must) is called The Sacred Echo. And the basic idea is that God speaks to us in many different ways, often indirect, but it’s the same message…a kind of repeated message that come across in multiple avenues, rippling waves…a sacred echo.
Shepherd + Wool + Knitting = Shawl = Gift = Forgiveness
I think that’s how it goes.
This might just be how the Forgiveness Project gets worked out….in wool! Knitting together these bits of forgiveness and sending them out to those whom I need to forgive. And it occurs to me that it doesn’t necessarily have to be shawls for everyone, because there are so many things that could be knit: scarves, mitts, bowls, bookmarks, bread basket liners.
Bread basket liners! Bread! Communion Bread!
This brings a sweet smile to my face and my eyes are crinkling.
I wonder, when Jesus was breaking bread with the disciples after he arose (Luke 24:28-35), was that a meal of forgiveness? Or when he ate with the disciples by the sea of Galilee (John 21:9-14), was that forgiveness?
Oh, oh! And then, what does Jesus say to Peter? “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15-17)
And do you know, I bought two patterns for bread basket liners in the last 3 months, and the yarn to make at least 2?
My original intention for the bread basket liner was for a friend’s special day. But, do you hear that? It’s echoing again. I do believe that forgiveness is an act of blessing. And I can make bread basket liners to give to bless and forgive, and both will be a blessing.
I think it is beautiful and lovely and wonder-full. And I am so thankful. Thankful to be living into my own resurrection and for these:
142. The message, echoing and smacking me upside the head
145. Sheep, those beautiful, lovely, stinky, smooshy, woolly beasts
146. Wool, wool, and more wool
147. Yarn, yarn and more yarn!!!! Oh the lusciousness of yarn!
148. My favorite birch knitting needles(Brittany, anyone?)
149. Patterns, many beautiful patterns for knitting
150. Tears of joy and gratitude in the twisting, turning journey
151. The many, many ways in which God speaks
152. My heritage in the land of the Merino
153. The grandmothers who knit
154. The mother who taught me to knit
155. A new purpose for knitting
And that is how I am Walking With Him this Wednesday!