Wrapped in God's Love, God's Love Made Visible
by Ackli Howell                               

You created my inmost self,
Knit me together in my mother's womb.
For so many marvels I thank you
A wonder am I,
And all your words are wonders.

Psalm 139: 13-14

On the fourth Sunday of the month, beautiful prayer shawls are draped over the chancel railing to be blessed by the congregation. A prayer shawl is intended to be a reminder of God's present love which is as near to us as our own body is to our spirit. It is a gift for time, joy or sorrow; for every season and circumstance of life – chosen or not; when weeping or celebrating.

My first personal encounter with a prayer shawl was during a very difficult time in my life when my father-in-law was dying. The parish nurse offered me a shawl to present to him. At the time he was not able to speak and could barely move any part of his body. I read to him the brochure that came with the shawl. It explained how the maker of the shawl prayed while lovingly stitching it. The brochure also explained how it can be worn when you are drawn to prayer and when in need of a tangible sign of God's presence. I prayed with him the Prayer Shawl Prayer which starts with "In the beginning, Creator God, you formed my being.  You knit me together in my mother's womb. You gave me the breath of life."

As we prayed my father-in-law moved his hand toward the shawl draped over him and held on to it tightly. I felt that God spoke to us at that moment and I felt wrapped in His care. Although, my father-in-law could not speak it was clear in the look in his eyes that he felt the same way, too. Now, whenever I visit my mother-in-law's home and I see the shawl, I am reminded of God's comfort and love. 

Anyone can request or donate a shawl. Should you desire, instructions are available for knitting or crocheting a shawl.  If you want to make one or suggest a person to receive one (including teens or children) , Parish Nurse.