Psalm 139 & knitting grandmothers

This is actually a bit that I cut out of my sermon/reflection on Psalm 139 for Sunday, because I went in a different direction. But I thought I would save it for a rainy day. So, voila.

Psalm 139 introduces us to a wonderful metaphor: a word-picture of a God whose relationship with human beings is as up-close-and-personal as a grandmother with her favorite knitting or weaving projects.

Maybe you had a grandmother or a mother who knit woolen sweaters, or wove African baskets or blankets, or made quilts, or wove the fabric for Indian saris. My own grandmother, who came from Ireland to America as a young woman, was a skilled and creative knitter. Especially as she got older and her memory and capacities began to decline, her knitting was an important source of creativity and expression for her. Her knitting was a way of expressing herself and of creating something beautiful and lasting, even as her other skills and abilities deteriorated. Everything that she made was an extension of her. Working without a pattern, stitching from memory and imagination, beautiful patterns and designs would materialize from between her knitting needles as if from thin air. I still have some incredible sweaters of her handiwork.

This is similar to the wonderful image of God that Psalm 139 provides us with. It invites us to imagine God as knitting grandmother, seated on a rocking chair on a cloud in the heavenly realms, balls of yarn at her feet. Her hands are flying over her knitting needles, her fingers moving so fast you can’t seem them, row after row of precious DNA appearing in her hands as out of nothing, then folding itself into shape, taking the form of two eyes, ears, nose, mouth. And out of God’s great care and creativity, taking shape in God’s very own hands, formed and prodded by her fingers, you came to be.

We can imagine God gently detaching each newly-knitted human being from her knitting needles, snipping the yarn to set it free, then turning it over gently in her hands, inspecting it carefully, and saying with infinite delight, just like she said in Genesis: oh, that’s good. Very, very good.

Your works are wonderful; we know that full well. Each person here this morning is fearfully and wonderfully made.



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