Wednesday, February 25, 2009

of Prayer Shawls and Preemie Caps

One of the ministries that heard about when we arrived here was the Prayer Shawl ministry. What we heard was that there used to be a group who met to knit and crochet together, making shawls for those who were sick or mourning and needed the comfort of the these shawls. The group also has created cotton bandages and premie caps in the past.

Just a few weeks ago, one of the members who had organized this ministry before approached me, wanting to begin meeting again. We gladly helped to schedule a time and place for this group to resume meeting. Since I love to knit and crochet, I also made time for a shopping excursion to purchase yarn so that I could begin a shawl, and join in this ministry of our congregation.

Even before the very first meeting time, I was handed a completed prayer shawl, with the request that it be dedicated and given to a recent widow in our congregation. Before the week was out, four other completed shawls appeared in my office. That next Sunday morning, as we were announcing the first meeting of the revived ministry, five shawls were blessed with prayer by both of us and passed among the members of the congregation for their prayers. What a marvelous way to re-introduce such a wonderful ministry!

During our first meeting, as I knitted and purled my way along on the shawl I had already started, I also asked about a pattern for premie caps. I was given a lovely but challenging pattern, which requires using 4 double-pointed needles – something I have only used once or twice in my years of knitting. Never one to say ‘never,’ I took a copy of the pattern home and began work on my first premie cap, with yarn I had on hand.

Working on these during quiet evenings by the TV at home, I have now finished three caps, and have yarn for several more. These are really quite fun to create – and my work is certainly based in gratitude and prayer, as I am profoundly thankful that our twin grandsons were not born prematurely. So I am quietly creating these, hoping that they may bring comfort to tiny babies born too early and too small.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Busy times

It’s been a hectic week! As the end of each month rolls around, we are busy working on the monthly newsletter along with the weekly bulletin along with the weekly Bible study and Sunday school and sermon preparation and visits to the hospitalized and homebound members of the congregation and all the other chores that pop up.

We’re now going on three weeks without a full day off. Come to think of it, that last one doesn’t really count, either – it was the day after Grandma Nellie’s funeral. Fortunately, we have been able to eke out an afternoon or evening here and there to run necessary errands and accomplish some things here at home. We just haven’t been able to get a complete ‘sleep in, catch up on chores and errands, and then relax’ day off.

In fact, we had scheduled two or three vacation days this week and watched them disappear from our calendar after a member of our congregation died. Instead of spending our days working here at home, we spent time with his family, preparing for and participating in the funeral.

That’s ministry for us. Knowing that the opportunity to be there for a family in sorrow is more important than us getting chores caught up at home. And I don’t think either of us would change that for anything. We have been called to full-time ministry and given an incredible opportunity to serve the Lord in this place!

Right now, as I type this entry, Ray is watching the Super Bowl. I need to get some things packed as tomorrow morning it will be time to head back to camp for a short retreat for all first call pastors in the synod.