‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’
“Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’ – The Message
According to Miriam Webster a ‘nitwit’ is “a scatterbrained or stupid person.” It comes from the German literally meaning “no wit.” Now I have to say that is vastly different that a ‘Knitwit” from St. Mark’s by-the-Lake. Where we come from a Knitwit is spelled with a K! Where we come from a Knitwit, far from being scatterbrained, stupid, or without wit, is a person who has taken seriously the call of Jesus as outlined in Matthew 25 and is living it well in her faithful weekly duty.
Our Knitwits gather each Tuesday morning at 10 am in our parish hall. They bring goodies, make tea and coffee, bring along a couple of pets, share great fellowship with one another, and…. they knit one, and pearl two for the vulnerable, the overlooked, and the ignored. Our Knitwits have been faithfully serving for a couple of years now. Last year they produced – Over 360 hats, over 350 scarves, and over 40 lap blankets. They also knitted over 200 baby hats, over 20 baby blankets, 10 baby sweaters and 60 baby sets. These items helped support the work of The Homeless Coalition of Windsor Essex, Long Term Care Homes, Hospice of Windsor-Essex, Canterbury College, as well as Transition to Betterness. (Much of this has been accomplished because of donations of wool, and funds to purchase wool from people within and outside of our parish.) There are about a dozen people each week gathered at St. Mark’s quietly clicking their needles to accomplish the work of the baptismal covenant to seek and serve Christ in all persons and love neighbour as self. This outreach is a critical ministry at St. Mark’s by-the-Lake, made all the more wonderful because it is done quietly and without fanfare or self-congratulation. This group’s proclivity tends toward humility. When they do speak about what they are doing it is usually to let others know that they are welcome to join them in their efforts to minister with needle in hand. They are in that Church Hall every week. I do not always get in there to say hello but I always remember the words of Mother Teresa when I see them knitting away in there. “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” Each of those small things adds up to such a large difference. On Sunday I quoted baseball great Rick Dempsey in my sermon. In an interview with New Yorker Magazine Dempsey said:
You’ve got to take it one game at a time, one hitter at a time. You’ve got to go on doing the things you’ve talked about and agreed about beforehand. You can’t get three outs at a time or five runs at a time. You’ve got to concentrate on each play, each hitter, each pitch. All this makes the game much slower and much clearer. It breaks it down to its smallest part. If you take the game like that- one pitch, one hitter, one inning at a time, and then one game at a time- the next thing you know, you look up and you’ve won.
For the Christian, “those things that we’ve talked about and agreed to beforehand,” are the baptismal promises. I think our Knitwits are doing a great job of focusing on these promises. They do this not by sitting and pondering how to change the biggest problems in our world, or country, or our city, but by focussing on one blanket, one scarf, one baby hat, and one stitch at a time. It is a great model. And the next thing you know – one day they we will look up and see that they have indeed won!
Have you been looking for something that you can take on as a discipline? If you have time on your hands in Lent and are looking or another way take on the work of discipleship, mission, or justice, think about coming and joining this wonderful group of people of Tuesdays at 10 am. You can be a Knitwit too! You have probably been called a ‘nitwit’ at some point in your life. Join the ‘Knitwits of St. Mark’s by-the-Lake’ and the next time someone calls you that you can say – “Thank you – I am a proud Knitwit!” All are welcome, men and women, young and less young, and even dogs. No skill is required – out Knitwits are great teachers. Jesus said…”Blessed are the Knitwits….”