Tag Archives: theology

Blessed are the meek

So, it appears that yesterday I only thought about posting, but didn’t actually write. Serves me right for owning up to trying NaBloPoMo.

Today I have been into the local school to lead collective worship. We plan these a term at a time, so whichever member of the team are leading it should make sense and not end up with the same story three weeks running.

We are doing the beatitudes this half term and I volunteered for ‘blessed are the meek’. Sounds easy? Not so much, especially when I found that there don’t seem to be any assemblies online for 5-11 year olds based on blessed are the meek. Now I know why.

I really wanted to go into the link between blessed are the meek and turn the other cheek. With both of them, despite seeming to advocate being a total pushover, there is a sense of protest. Meekness in this context doesn’t mean being totally acquiescent to any unreasonable oppression. Rather, it is a measured response. You can still state how much the oppression is hurting you, and try to avoid it happening. The meekness comes in not getting angry or responding violently

Turning the other cheek is similar. The natural way for a right-handed person to slap someone is on the left cheek. Turning the other cheek requires them to either use their left hand (which in non-enlightened times was very much not done) or to hit back-handed. Hitting back-handed signified the total insignificance and humiliation of the person you are hitting. Volunteering to be humiliated in this way is meant to be a way of pointing out to the person hitting you the damage they are inflicting.

All very well and nicely intellectualised. Problems? For a start, there is little meaning to these codes of right-handed superiority and correct fighting any more. Then there is all the bullying of left-handers or putting into practice of hitting each other that might arise from an assembly on this subject.

I ended up using a box of duplo bricks tipped all over the floor to help illustrate this. Any guesses how?

Five reasons why…

… being in ministry is like knitting a sock in public.

Sock

  1. When some people see the sock/collar, they come over and want to know what you are doing and why. They ask questions and you get to evangelise about how great knitting/Christianity is and why they should totally join in. Other people look over and think it is just plain weird and avoid any sort of contact
  2. The sock is a UFO – an unfinished object. So is my ministry. (The analogy falls down somewhat here since I hope one day soon to finish the sock, but ministry will carry on for the foreseeable future)
  3. Each individual stitch looks somewhat unimpressive and it is difficult to see how it fits into the bigger picture, but it is essential for how things turn out. Each individual encounter with another person, even if only passing on the street, contributes to building up relationships that may be essential in the future.
  4. You need 5 needles to make a sock. Each needle will be used at some point for knitting, but at other times will be just holding stitches or even back in the needle case. You need a variety of skills to be in ministry (e.g. sermon writing, listening, praying, leading, practical stuff), but you don’t use all of them all the time.
  5. This sock has been designed by cobbling together ideas from various different books – it may turn out the way I intended, or it may end up different. In either case it will be complex and useful. This ministry has been planned by cobbling together ideas from various different books – it may turn out the way I intended, or it may end up different. By its nature, ministry is complex. I hope I will be useful to those around me.

So, a simile stretched to breaking point there. What do you think?

With thanks to my IME group for the inspiration for this post. IME is basically the compulsory training for curates in the first 4 years after ordination. We were told to bring something representative of our ministry – I had forgotten to prepare, but took my knitting along, thinking I could probably come up with something.

Knitting again

I have spent this evening partly re-reading Michael Ramsey’s The Christian Priest Today and then, as a reward for doing theology reading on my day off*, I have been bringing my Ravelry page up to scratch, uploading photos and updating project details.

The knitters among you may be surprised to hear that yesterday, for about half an hour, I had NO works in progress. Not one. I have finished the mittens, the clapotis and even the miniature stocking that was for my sister at Christmas last year. Don’t worry, I started another miniature stocking in a different pattern so I would not be fretting unduly in the night.

Future knitting plans include a hat to accompany the mittens (it gets quite chilly here and we don’t heat the church building for morning and evening prayer). I say ‘accompany’ rather than ‘match’ since the colours couldn’t be more different. We’ll see. I may make more mittens to match at some point. I also have plans for more socks – some in a toe-up pattern so I can see just how long a skein of Shepherd Sock will go and some using fairisle.

Anyway, here are some pics of the stuff I have recently finished.

Clapotis + Esme

This was Esme helping me to lay Clapotis out pre-blocking.

Broad Street Mitten open

And here is a mitten. You can see the mitten top that folds over the fingers when needed.

It was a bit tricky taking pictures of both mittens, given that one hand was needed to operate the camera shutter, but I found the timer switch and here you go. Never realised how pretty the radiator was before…

Broad Street Mittens

Clicking on any of the photos will take you to many, many more photos of yarn of various sorts. Feel free, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

In final knitting-related news, the dpn that I lost during the mittens turned upĀ  down between the (non-removable) sofa cushions this evening. I’ve only looked there about 20 times already. Anyway, much rejoicing.

PS Day 3 of no-cake month complete. Still 5 cakes of pastoral necessity remaining

* I have a study morning on it tomorrow, led by the Bishop. I just thought it might be wise to do a bit of revision.