Good Friday – Jesus wept

Knitting Idea:  We have been knitting a heart throughout Holy Week.  Today, you will finish your heart!  Congratulations!  You made it.  Tomorrow finish your cowl with a few rows of seed stitch to the desired length, cast off and sew the ends together.  More on that tomorrow.

Row 1:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Knit 10 stitches, Purl 7, Knit 3, Purl 7,  Knit 9 stitches, 6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Row 2:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Purl 9 stitches, Knit 7, Purl 3, Knit 7, Purl 10,  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Row 3:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Knit 11 stitches, Purl 5, Knit 5, Purl 5, Knit 10 stitches, 6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Row 4:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Purl 10 stitches, Knit 5, Purl 5, Knit 5, Purl 11 stitches, 6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Row 5:  6 Stitches in seed stitch pattern, Knit 12, Purl 3, Knit 7, Purl 3, Knit 11, 6 Stitches in Seed stitch

 

Today’s Reflection:

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Maundy Thursday – Love one another

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Knitting idea:

Row 1:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Knit 12 stitches, Purl 13, Knit 11 stitches, 6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Row 2:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Purl 11 stitches, Knit 13, Purl 12 stitches, 6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Row 3:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Knit 11 stitches, Purl 7,knit 1, Purl 7, Knit 10 stitches, 6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Row 4:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Purl 10 stitches, Knit 7, Purl 1, Knit 7, Purl 11 stitches, 6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Reflection:

The English word “Maundy” comes from the Latin mandatum, which means “commandment.” Love one another as I have loved you is the commandment that Jesus give us at the last supper.  He calls it a new commandment.

This is different than the old idea of loving our neighbor as ourself.  Jesus shows love to individuals in a new way, loving each individual for who they are.  Every encounter, he seems to know the person in a profound way – like the woman the well.  Jesus loves each of us as if we were the last person on earth and at the same time, he loves all of us.  This is a “giving love” not a “needy love” (CS Lewis – The Four Loves).  This kind of love is the love we hear about at every wedding (1Corinthians 13) which sounds like a laundry list of love “to dos” for the Bride and Groom when in actuality it is a list of the attributes of the love of God.

This is a challenging commandment.  We are asked to freely give love, to serve, and to care for all people.  We can’t live into this by ourselves, it’s only through the grace of God that we have moments and glimpses into giving love moments.

This commandment comes on the eve of the most love giving moment of them all – Jesus going willingly to his death on the cross.  Let us pray for the grace to go willingly into those areas where we need to be the loving presence, the hands, heart and feet of Christ in the broken world of today.

 

Wednesday – Holy Week – Grief

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Instructions for Wednesday:  The purl area is increasing little by little.

Row 1:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Knit 14 stitches, Purl 9, Knit 13 stitches, 6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Row 2:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Purl 13 stitches, Knit 9, Purl 14 stitches, 6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Row 3:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Knit 13 stitches, Purl 11, Knit 12 stitches, 6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Row 4:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Purl 12 stitches, Knit 11, Purl 13 stitches, 6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Reflection:  Grief is hard work.  It’s difficult company, it comes when you don’t expect it and stays longer than it should.  It demands attention and it won’t stop bothering you.  Grief is the cold hand that grabs one of your shoulders and twists you around to stare you down.  It lingers.

Some churches have a service called Tenebrae.  The core of the Tenebrae service works like this: It starts out with the church in candlelight. There are as many candles as there are readings, plus a white Christ candle. The readers go up one at a time, read their assigned selections then extinguishes one of the candles until only the Christ candle remains. Then someone reads the first part of Psalm 22, which Jesus quoted on the cross. Then the Christ candle is put out, leaving the congregation in near total darkness—and near total devastation. At this point, the service ends. There is no benediction and the people leave in silence.

And the loss of the light begins.

We worship a God that understands grief.

 

Corrections to Knitting directions!

Monday directions:

Row 1:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Knit 18 stitches, Purl 1, Knit 17 stitches, 6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Row 2:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Purl 17 stitches, Knit 1, Purl 18 stitches, 6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Row 3:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Knit 17 stitches, Purl 3, Knit 16 stitches, 6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Row 4:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Purl 16 stitches, Knit 3, Purl 17 stitches, 6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Tuesday directions:

Row 1:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Knit 16 stitches, Purl 5, Knit 15 stitches, 6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Row 2:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Purl 15 stitches, Knit 5, Purl 16 stitches, 6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Row 3:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Knit 15 stitches, Purl 7, Knit 14 stitches, 6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Row 4:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Purl 14 stitches, Knit 7, Purl 15 stitches, 6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

 

THANK  YOU PEG!

Holy Week Tuesday – Betrayal

 

Knitting idea:  I made a mistake in yesterdays instructions!!!!

Monday’s instructions with corrections in bold.

Row 1:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Knit 18 stitches, Purl 1, Knit 17 stitches, 6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Row 2:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Purl 17 stitches, Knit 1, Purl 18 stitches, 6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Row 3:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Knit 17 stitches, Purl 3, Knit 16 stitches, 6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Row 4:  Row 3:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Purl 16 stitches, Knit 3, Purl 17 stitches, 6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Instructions for Tuesday:

Row 1:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Knit 16 stitches, Purl 5, Knit 15 stitches, 6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Row 2:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Purl 15 stitches, Knit 5, Purl 16 stitches, 6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Row 3:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Knit 15 stitches, Purl 7, Knit 14 stitches, 6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Row 4:  Row 3:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Purl 14 stitches, Knit 3, Purl 15 stitches, 6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Reflection:

I had already decided to write about betrayal before I discovered the mistake in Monday’s knitting instructions.  AHHHHHH!  I feel like I betrayed those of you who are following along with the cowl instructions.  I’m sorry.  I was so excited about what I’m trying to do, I wasn’t careful.  Please forgive me.  Just a few more days and a a few more instructions.

Betrayal is one of the hardest emotions for anyone to endure.  It’s especially hard when the person who betrays us or the person we betray is close to us.  I can’t imagine what it was like for Jesus to learn that Peter had betrayed him, not just once but three times.  Here was his friend who had been on the road with him, someone he trusted, someone who had witnessed the miracles, the healing of the sick, someone he had eaten with, walked with and sat around the fire with on a daily basis.

“I don’t know him” Peter said.

Betrayal hurts and the wounds are hard to heal and future trust is hard to build but it can happen.  Peter was horrified at what he had done.  After Easter, Jesus appears to the disciples and had this conversation with Peter:

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’He said to him the third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.

Jesus asked Peter three times if he loves him.  Peter answers yes three times.  Often people interpret this as Peter’s chance to redeem himself after he denied Jesus three times.

Jesus chose Peter to feed his sheep – the very person who betrayed him.

Jesus forgave Peter and put his faith in him.

Forgiveness helps us heal from betrayal.  Forgiveness doesn’t mean that what happened was ok, it doesn’t mean we will trust the person again, it just means that the betrayal has no power over us.  Forgiveness means letting go of the hurt.

When we have betrayed others, we need to seek forgiveness.  It may not come but we need to ask.

No matter what, God forgives.  God’s mercy is wide.

Monday – Holy Week – Judgement

Knitting Idea:  We are going to be knitting a shape that will become apparent by the end of Holy Week.  This is just knitting and purling but requires counting.

To set this up knit one row on the right side keeping seed stitch border than purl a row on the wrong side keeping seed stitch border.  I knit 6 rows for today, two rows of stockinette and the four rows of the pattern below.

Row 1:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Knit 18 stitches, Purl 1, Knit 17 stitches, 6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Row 2:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Purl 18 stitches, Knit 1, Purl 17 stitches, 6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Row 3:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Knit 17 stitches, Purl 3, Knit 16 stitches, 6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Row 4:  Row 3:  6 stitches in seed stitch pattern, Purl 17 stitches, Knit 3, Purl 16 stitches, 6 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Reflection:  I saw this quotation from Pope Francis on John Macholz (the Bishop of the Upstate NY Synod of the ELCA – Lutheran).

The Cross is the word through which God has responded to evil in the world. Sometimes it may seem as though God does not react to evil, as if he is silent. And yet, God has spoken, he has replied, and his answer is the Cross of Christ: a word which is love, mercy, forgiveness. It is also reveals a judgment, namely that God, in judging us, loves us. Remember this: God, in judging us, loves us. If I embrace his love then I am saved, if I refuse it, then I am condemned, not by him, but my own self, because God never condemns, he only loves and saves. – Pope Francis

This summarizes my own beliefs about the cross.  This is the week to really meditate and pray on the events surrounding the crucifixion and the cross itself.  People often ask me why God doesn’t prevent evil.  Usually in those moments a discussion about “free will” isn’t always helpful.  Yes, we have the ability to do evil and as we have seen in some recent horrific events, humans can and do hurt one another.  God is not silent, God is mourning and grieving for the human race.  God’s love is available to us in prayer and it will strengthen us and help us figure out how to respond to gun violence, bullying, cruel behavior, so that we can try to prevent future events.  We all need to respond in some way.

God is always reaching out in love.  Always.  It’s up to us to respond.

Lent 5 – Saturday – Retreat

Knitting Idea:  Keep seed stitch border and knit 4 rows (garter stitch)

Reflection:  For those of you who could not make it to the retreat, below are the exercises we are doing:

Spiritual Knitting Overview

Knitting as a spiritual metaphor

Who taught you to knit? Who taught you about God?

Why do you knit?  Why did you choose to do this spiritual practice?

How many projects do you have going at once?  What does this tell you about yourself?  What are the similarities and differences between your number of projects and how you practice your spirituality?

Do you follow a pattern when you knit?  Are you by the book or do you modify things?  How does this relate to your spiritual practice?  Do you like structure or are you more seat of the pants?

What do you do when you make a mistake?  If you try to fix it, do you unravel it until you find the mistake or do you just add two stitches if you find you are missing two stitches? 

What does this tell you?  Do you see any similarities or differences between how you deal with knitting mistakes and how you deal with life?

What kind of stash do you have?  How does this relate to your spiritual practice?

Exercise 2

Spiritual Practice Review

How did you structure your spiritual practice?  When, where, what?

What was the most satisfying/life giving part of this experience?

What was the most challenging part of this experience?

How has this experience affected your relationship with God?

Exercise 3

Developing a Rule of Life

Circle one (Too much, too little, just right)

Physical Activity                              Too much                          too little                           just right

Sleep                                                   Too much                          too little                           just right

Work                                                   Too much                          too little                           just right

Relaxation                                          Too much                          too little                          just right

Prayer                                                 Too much                           too little                         just right

Mental work                                      Too much                           too little                         just right

Physical work                                    Too much                           too little                         just right

Time alone                                         Too much                           too little                         just right

Time with others                              Too much                            too little                        just right

Watching TV                                      Too much                            too little                        just right

Social Media                                      Too much                             too little                       just right

Questions:

Is my life balanced?

What are the neglected areas?

What am I looking for in life?

How can I make my life more balanced?

What is my current daily routine? Make a list of repeating daily activities (waking up, brushing teeth, eating breakfast, drive to work, etc)

How did I incorporate my Lenten spirituality practice in my daily routine?

What worked and what didn’t?   What do I want to change?

Sample Rule of Life

(Taken from “Always We Begin Again” by John McQuiston)

Reading and Prayer:  before breakfast and at the close of day

Giving thanks throughout the day:  midmorning, noon, midafternoon, and at bedtime, as well as when you commute to and from work.

Mealtimes:  Whenever possible, eat with family or friends and not alone

Slow down:  when you feel yourself harried or racing

Exercise: morning or eveningimages

 

Lent 5 Friday – Listening

Knitting idea: One more Cross Stitch Cable

Directions (keep seed stitch going on borders if desired)  I’m doing 6 stitches of seed stich now instead of 4 so I have 36 stitches for this pattern.  It’s really pretty easy if you watch the video.  Check out the video here.

Knitted in a multiple of 6 sts and 4-row repeat.
Row 1 (Right side): * P1, k4, p1; repeat from * to end.
Row 2: * K1, p4 wrapping yarn twice around needle for each purl stitch, k1; repeat from * to end.
Row 3: * P1, sl 4 wyib dropping extra wraps, then with point of left-hand needle, pass the first 2 stitches over the second 2 stitches, return the stitches on the right-hand needle to the left-hand needle and knit all 4 stitches in the crossed order, p1; repeat from * to end.
Row 4: * K1, p4, k1; repeat from * to end.

Knitting abbreviations:
Knit: K | Purl: P | Slip stitch purlwise with yarn in back: Sl wyib.

Reflection:  I like to listen to books while I knit (unless the knitting is something that requires intense concentration like lace which I only do if I’m alone in the house, the dog is in here cage, my reading glasses are clean, and there is nothing to distract me).

A good audio book is really dependent on the narrator.  A bad narrator can make even a good book seem boring.  But a good one will make you want to listen for hours on end. Some of my favorite narrators are authors.  I listen to a lot of memoirs and when they are read by the author, they can be very compelling.  I really enjoyed listening to Shonda Rhimes book called “My year of saying yes to everything.  Click here to hear her TED Talk on this subject.

I love listening to books being read out loud.  It brings back happy childhood memories.  I can still see my elementary school teacher pulling out a book, smoothing the  pages and reading a chapter to our class.  We hung on every word.

My very first class at seminary was St. Paul and Other Writings.  Dr. Paul Hammer was the professor and when he took out his Bible and read from Romans, it was like he was reading that scripture for the first time.  His voice was full of awe and he lingered over the words savoring them like they were a rare treat.  The power of the words was evident in his intonation.  The experience sent shivers down my spine.

I imagine Jesus reading these words in the temple:

‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free, 
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’

I wish I could hear the voice of Jesus and feel his passion.  In my imagination, I hear Dr. Hammer’s voice, low and deep, filled with conviction and energy.  These words have transforming power and now it is up to us to live into them.

We are literally going from house to house this year to let people know about our gardens, our food shelf, our kids club and our healing services.  This is our good news and we can’t wait to share it.

Lent 5 – Thursday – “I happened to be standing”

Knitting idea: More Cross Stitch Cable

Directions (keep seed stitch going on borders if desired)  I’m doing 6 stitches of seed stich now instead of 4 so I have 36 stitches for this pattern.  It’s really pretty easy if you watch the video.  Check out the video here.

Knitted in a multiple of 6 sts and 4-row repeat.
Row 1 (Right side): * P1, k4, p1; repeat from * to end.
Row 2: * K1, p4 wrapping yarn twice around needle for each purl stitch, k1; repeat from * to end.
Row 3: * P1, sl 4 wyib dropping extra wraps, then with point of left-hand needle, pass the first 2 stitches over the second 2 stitches, return the stitches on the right-hand needle to the left-hand needle and knit all 4 stitches in the crossed order, p1; repeat from * to end.
Row 4: * K1, p4, k1; repeat from * to end.

Knitting abbreviations:
Knit: K | Purl: P | Slip stitch purlwise with yarn in back: Sl wyib.

Reflection:

Mary Oliver is one of my favorite poets and I had the idea of putting one of her poems in the blog today.  Then I thought about the copyright laws and I realized I needed her permission.  This whole process took me to an even better idea.  Here is a link to the poet reading a poem on prayer.  So while you do your knitting today, go ahead and listen to a great interview of a great poet!

Click here for the link to

Mary Oliver Reads Her Poem “I Happened to be Standing”

MARIAH HELGESON, SENIOR EDITOR, ON BEING STUDIOS

The poems of Mary Oliver are prayers that anyone can pray. They are spacious and simple, expansive and ordinary. They don’t require us to believe in anything in particular, but they do ask us to pay attention to that fleeting and particular space of a momen

Lent 5 – Wednesday – Abundance!

Knitting idea: Cross Stitch Cable

Directions (keep seed stitch going on borders if desired)  I’m doing 6 stitches of seed stich now instead of 4 so I have 36 stitches for this pattern.  It’s really pretty easy if you watch the video.  Check out the video here.

Knitted in a multiple of 6 sts and 4-row repeat.
Row 1 (Right side): * P1, k4, p1; repeat from * to end.
Row 2: * K1, p4 wrapping yarn twice around needle for each purl stitch, k1; repeat from * to end.
Row 3: * P1, sl 4 wyib dropping extra wraps, then with point of left-hand needle, pass the first 2 stitches over the second 2 stitches, return the stitches on the right-hand needle to the left-hand needle and knit all 4 stitches in the crossed order, p1; repeat from * to end.
Row 4: * K1, p4, k1; repeat from * to end.

Knitting abbreviations:
Knit: K | Purl: P | Slip stitch purlwise with yarn in back: Sl wyib.

Reflection:  Abundant would be the word to describe my stash.  I have cleared it out on occasion and brought my excess yarn to Sew Green.  Then, I went on a yarn fast and for a long time I did not buy any yarn.  Instead, I would go to my stash and do my shopping.  I had a great time doing this and changed my original pattern ideas with some yarn.  This was all going well until my hairdresser moved next door to the yarn shop in East Rochester.  Unfortunately, I brought my latest Vogue Knitting magazine to my hair appointment and discovered an easy sweater pattern on size 10 1/2 needles with huge garter stitch borders and a stockinette body.  It was a cardigan with no buttons – a big cozy sweater (actually Vogue called it the big cozy sweater).  This was a perfect storm that led to the purchase of 8 skeins of yarn.  I justified it by saying I needed an easy, mindless project and of course a big cozy buttonless sweater.  I wound one skein and stashed the rest of the yarn in the room where I keep all my projects and I discovered a sweater I was working on that was only stockinette stitch.  If I needed something simple and mindless, it was already there.

My problems are associated with abundance.  I try not to buy more yarn, I try not to eat too much, I try to get books from the library rather than press the button on Amazon.

Today, we had our monthly food shelf service.  It is  a reminder of the people who live in scarcity in a world full of abundance.  We had coffee and homemade brownies and peanut butter cookies – the kind with the hershey kiss, a musician playing guitar, a seamstress mending clothes, a store like atmosphere where people could pick out clothes, a healing service and just some time to interact with each other.  There is an aura of gratitude and appreciation that permeates the space.  Most of the people show up each month and they have come to care for one another.  Each jar of peanut butter, each bar of soap, and today, the incredible gift of frozen blueberries is a special gift – something to treasure.

As Holy week approaches, I often think about the foot washing service.  People are willing to wash feet but no one wants to get their feet washed.  It is much easier to come from abundance and provide for others rather than to receive help.

Each month I walk the line and collect food for a friend of mine who lives on the edge.  I feel strange doing it, I wonder what some of the people might think.  They know I’m on staff at the church.  I don’t explain, I just walk the line feeling uncomfortable.  And grateful.  And committed to the mission of this church.  And recommitted to not overindulging.