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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sabbath Rest like Brother Lawrence

 Brother Lawrence is that monk who carried the message that finding God in everyday events brought the pilgrim the added gift of finding His presence everywhere.

Most recently, I found Him while knitting, more specifically while making a pair of socks.  Praying while knitting is not a novel idea, many have done it before me--but I'm not thinking of breath prayers or thematic prayers right now...I'm thinking of listening-prayers, not so much of speaking-prayers.  Oh, I spoke for a while, but then I asked God if He had something to say to me, and immediately the thought came to mind:  slow down.

I rolled that thought around in my brain as I continued to knit.  It could mean so many things--that slow down.  I used to think such an answer too vague; but as our relationship grew I realized, Your words always come with many threads of potential, those threads that weave the balance between divine speech and human free will, threads that preserve the integrity of both in the pattern of a life.  Slow down.
I was working on a pair of socks; seaming the toe of one--an awkward business with two two knitting needles, a tapestry needle and yarn that seems to have no good place to hang.  The seaming happens backstage of the primary cast:  the needles and stitches-in-waiting.  I heard You again.  Slow down.  Does it seem like nothing is happening?  Allow that plenty is happening--needful seaming in places out of sight.  And this will mean something soon...something that has nothing to do with making socks.

Then after the toes were seamed, I tried a new thing:  reinforcing the heel and toe.  I experimented with this sock pair, trying different methods of reinforcing.  Herein, the Message burrowed deeper into my soul because I learned that I could not make an invisible reinforcement while working on the side of the fabric normally hidden--the back side, even though this was the prescribed method.  This method--in my hands, at least--left jagged scars on the front of the fabric.  But if I worked from the front side, the "show" side, and made delicate reinforcing stitches hidden just under the surface, well then the sock remained beautiful and  became strong.  And this will mean something, too.  All I need do is store it up in my heart.

For who hath despised the day of small things?...the eyes of the LORD run to and fro through the whole earth.  --Zechariah 4:10

My God, you are always close to me.  In obedience to you, I must now apply myself to outward things.  Yet, as I do, I pray that you will give me the grace of your presence.  And to this end I ask that you will assist my work, receive its fruits as an offering to you, and all the while direct all my affections to you.  Amen.  --Brother Lawrence, The Harper Collins Book of Prayers

God's blessing on all your work.

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