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Topic: Worship (05/03/04)
TITLE: A Woman’s Act of Worship
By Melanie Kerr
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This was her rest. Fine linen, with the fragrance of flowers and herbs rested on her lap. Like waves of white water, folds of cloth rippled gently about her. A coarse basket rested by her arm, brimming with threads of every colour she could create. The wool she had spun finely, like silk. The threads, boiled with wild flowers to dye then in rich colours, she had dried in the sunshine, a rainbow snared and dancing like a fish caught on a hook.
Her fingers were bent deftly about the needle that she passed it through and under the linen. Fingers busy, she embroidered a picture delicate and detailed with careful tiny stitches. As the picture unfolded on the linen, her memories embroidered pictures on her mind.
They were painful pictures of how she had suffered, how they all had suffered. A land that had welcomed them so many generations ago, had enslaved them. Freedom was but a distant murmur. As hard work and harsh punishments had eaten away the strength from their bones, the hope in their hearts had eroded too.
She nurtured her hope in snatches of cloth, nailed to the walls of her home. She refused to sew anything but sunshine into her pictures. Nothing was grey, or brown or the scenes she saw she saw with eyes that had seen the worst that a man can do.
Her child had been snatched from her arms, still wet from the womb. Why should a nation with so much power, harbour so much fear from something so small and so fragile? She had wanted to sew glistening tears and a hollow emptiness into her pictures then. Hope had been dashed on the rock of hatred, splintered and broken.
She had bowed her head, her eyes too heavy with tears to lift heavenwards. She whispered quietly, while her heart shouted, “When will you deliver us, Oh Lord?”
There was no deliverance, not then, though had she but known, the seeds had been sown. Naturally, she had heard of a woman who had hidden her child, in the bull rushes. One child saved then, would save them in generations to come.
Now those generations had passed and she had participated in God’s deliverance. Was there still a taste of lamb on her lips? Was there still a stain of blood on the door of the house she had left abandoned and open months ago? Could she still hear a refrain from the song they sang as they danced on the shore of the Red Sea?
This was the picture she was painting so carefully with her threads. A Lamb slain, a river of crimson blood flowing, a crowd of worshippers with their hands lifted to a throne. So many bright colours were needed. Gold and silver thread nestled in her basket ready to take their place in her picture.
When this picture when it was done, she would give it to Moses to hang in the tabernacle, in the Holy of Holies. It did not matter that few people would see it or remark on the delicate craftsmanship. As He sat in His mercy seat God would see it. This was her act of worship.
(Based on Exodus 26:1)