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Knitting Lesson

Published in the Largs and Millport Weekly News for 22 September 2021

I recall as a child walking with my mother from Ardrossan to Saltcoats on a Saturday afternoon to get the messages. Occasionally, she would visit the wool shop if she wanted to knit something for one of the family. In one shop, I remember the rather intimidating pile of wool for sale stacked up to the ceiling, and that peculiar smell of “raw” wool!


I also recall watching mum execute her knitting skills effortlessly at home. The knitting patterns all looked very complicated to me, but I marvelled when a new jumper was somehow magically produced. You always wanted to wear that one more because your mum made it, and you wanted to make sure everyone knew about it.


In Psalm 138, we hear how the Lord himself knits: “For it was you, Lord, who created me, knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Every stitch of us, body and soul, is painstakingly intertwined by God himself according to the pattern of his own divine heart.


And there is another kind of knitting in the Bible. We hear how Jonathan, son of King Saul, experienced a great and immediate affection for the future King David. We are told that “the souls of Jonathan and David were knit together” (1 Samuel 18:1). They became “soul mates”, you could say, interwoven by genuine love.


Despite the many reasons we might have for doubting it, both nationally and internationally, the human race is destined ultimately to be “knitted” into a beautiful pattern of unity in diversity. Everyone longs to be at one with another and with others. It is in our DNA. And that knitting is advanced with every little gesture of kindness and consideration we show to a neighbour, known or unknown. Every stitch helps.


The great tapestry of the unity of humanity will not be woven by international agreements or organisations. The harmony of marriage, family, society and Church is not born from clever ideas or politics. It is the self-sacrificing love of every day in every way which will achieve that. Its source, and its summit, is Jesus Christ Crucified.