United Church of Christ

Knitting in Church

We have several ladies who bring their knitting to worship service on Sunday morning.  To me, that's offensive.  Wonder what God thinks?  How would this best be curtailed with love?

Knitting in Church


Dear Knitting in Church,

When I prepare a sermon, I need absolute quiet and solitude. My desk is impeccably clean. My children are on the other side of a closed door, if I haven't completely banished them from the house. I can't stand having music on, even in the next room.

I am blessed to have a wonderful colleague in my church. He is as messy as they come. When he is working, he needs to be where there are a lot of people and noise. He'll blast his iPod, spread everything out and pile everything up, and churn out a great sermon.

There are different spiritual strokes. What looks to you like a distraction from the life of the Spirit and respectful attention to God might in fact be the way your knitters undistract themselves. Simone Weil said that all prayer is, is "absolutely unmixed attention." It could be that without their knitting, they couldn't quiet other voices that crowd out God's voice.

Some churches, in fact, have knitting ministries - women and men gather to knit shawls for others fleeing abusive relationships, children in foster care, undocumented immigrants in detention. As they knit, they pray. We sometimes say "when you sing, you pray twice." Maybe as they knit one, they pray twice?

The only One who knows what is going on inside of your knitters - or anybody else for that matter - is God, and She's not telling.

How would this best be curtailed with love? If by "this" you mean your feelings about your fellow worshippers, I'd say:  pray that you may be able to love them better, even though their way of worshipping drives you crazy.

All of this might be a nice intellectual argument that still makes your blood boil when you see them with the heads bowed and their needles clacking away as the sermon begins. So I suggest you sit where you can't see or hear them. It's a bummer of a truth that the "sweet hour of prayer" is the one that finds us, often, being our most judgmental, unable to silence the inner critic. Make it a little easier on yourself, and the knitters, by giving yourself the space you need to worship undistractedly.

Bless you, and may you be a blessing,


Who is Theo?

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