The door slammed; heavy, thumping footsteps crossed the room. Winnie didn’t need to look up to know the source of the disturbance. She continued with her needlepoint and waited for the explosion.
“Nan, I’m bored. There’s nothing to do here.”
“I know, dear. It’s very sad.”
“I’m serious, Nan,” shouted Peter, her ten-year-old grandson. “There’s nothing to do in this stupid house. You haven’t even got cable. I told Dad he should have let me bring my PlayStation!”
Winnie smiled to herself but she still didn’t look up. Her tapestry was coming along well and she hoped to finish it before the end of the week. Peter was only visiting for four days, but he seemed to have the attention span of a horsefly doped to the eyeballs with food additives and colorants. His grandfather had already abdicated all responsibility and taken himself off fishing. Winnie had hoped Peter might like to go along, but the boy’s only response had been “Borrrriinnng!”
“You could always come and help me with my needlepoint.” Winnie didn’t really have any expectation that Peter would agree, so she wasn’t surprised by his immediate reaction.
“Nan, that is plain stupid!”
This was said in such a whiney voice that the old woman glanced up from her craft project. Her grandson was standing with his legs askew, hands on his hips, mouth open, tonsils quivering, and such a look on his face that you could imagine he had just been offered curried caterpillars in mayonnaise for breakfast.
“What’s the problem, Peter dear,” she asked all innocently.
“Needlecraft is for girls,” he insisted, coating each word with as much disgust and incredulity as he could muster.
“Oh, I didn’t know that. I didn’t realise that God was a girl...”
“What do you mean?”
“Haven’t you heard, dear? The Bible is full of sewing, knitting, woodcraft, all that sort of thing.”
Peter looked puzzled. He stared suspiciously at his grandmother. Then he walked over to an empty chair and sat down. “Go on,” he said. “This is a joke, isn’t it? No, let me guess, David didn’t kill Goliath with a sling, he used a crochet hook!”
Winnie set down her needlepoint and grinned at the young man opposite her. Peter’s father, her son, was a church minister, and she knew that Peter liked showing off his Bible knowledge.
“Well now, where shall I begin?” she mused. “I suppose that Bezalel would be a good place to start.”
“Where?” asked Peter.
“Not where, but who. Bezalel appears in the book of Exodus when he helped Moses make the Tabernacle.”
“That was the holy tent, wasn’t it, Nan?” chipped in Peter, keen to prove that he really did know his Bible.
“That’s right. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit gave him special abilities so that he could work with wood, metal and precious stones.”
“But that’s hardly needlepoint!”
“True enough,” Winnie agreed. “But the same passage says that his assistant Oholiab had skill in embroidery and weaving. And they were both men.”
Peter thought about this for a moment. Then he launched his counter-attack: “Yes, Nan, but that doesn’t mean that God does girly stuff like tapestry.”
Winnie lifted up one hand and began to count on her fingers. “The Psalmist says that ‘you knit me together in my mother’s womb’ so God must knit. Isaiah says that ‘I have engraved you on the palms of my hands’ so God must do engraving. Isaiah also says ‘We are the clay, you are the potter’ so clearly God is into pottery…”
Peter pulled a face. “Yeah, sure. And I suppose you’ll say that God sews because the farmer went out to sow his seed?”
“I would, dear, but your Bible knowledge is better than your spelling. But you’re quite right: the Bible does say in Ecclesiastes that there is ‘a time to rend, and a time to sew’.
Peter looked at his grandmother with wary respect. “You sure do know your Bible. I suppose that’s why Dad’s so good.”
“Practice, my boy, practice. Now what about helping me with my needlepoint?”
“No way, Nan,” he replied. “I’m off to find a tree to climb.”
Peter was halfway towards the door when he stopped and turned. “I don’t suppose there’s anything in the Bible about God playing computer games, is there?”
Winnie thrust her chest forward, put her hands on her hips, and exclaimed in her best whiney voice “Peter, that is plain stupid!”
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