Tuesday, 5 November 2013

I’m A Cross Stitcher

I have been busy sewing, and muttering all day. Fairly quietly muttering, as I’ve got a sore throat. But muttering nevertheless.

biblereadingNormally my morning Bible reading sets me up for the day, full of positive and encouraging thoughts – but today the accompanying notes have irritated me somewhat.

The passage this morning was from Exodus 31, all about two of my heroes, Bezalel and Oholiab. These two were incredibly gifted both in craftsmanship, and in teaching their skills to others. In ‘The Message’ version of Exodus 35 it tells us “God’s also made Bezalel a teacher, he and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. He’s gifted them with the know-how needed for carving, designing, weaving, and embroidering in blue, purple, and scarlet fabrics, and in fine linen. They can make anything and design anything.”

And I love thinking about these two men, planning, and stitching, and teaching – making beautiful things to be used in the Tabernacle, to enable the Israelites in their worship of God.

Coveringpriest's robe

They prepared robes and cloths and hangings from the finest of fabrics and threads [as well as working with metal, wood, leathers, gemstones] These passages in Exodus have been an inspiration to me for many years – to accept gratefully the gifts God has given me both in needlecrafts and in teaching  - and to seek to use those gifts to glorify God and to enable others to get to know Him too.

- so why did the man writing the notes to accompany this morning’s passage go on about ‘arts, music and dancing’ and ‘worshipping God by singing’? Not one single sentence about carving, designing, weaving, and embroidering.

I am probably being a bit picky here – but along with teaching, and crafting, I also feel it is important to be involved in encouraging others. I suspect that if I went into the Hall for After Church Coffee and asked all the musicians to get in one group [and believe, me they are a talented crowd- including singers, players and songwriters] and all those who do needlecrafts to get into another group, then the knitters & stitchers would probably outnumber the strummers, hummers & drummers. Both these groups have a role in the life of the Kingdom, and deserve encouragement for what they do.

What bothered me most about the study notes this morning is that the writer just focussed on ‘art’ and talked about looking at a picture or listening to a piece of music and seeing how it added to our worship of God. He seems to have missed the point that B&O were not simply making things that were beautiful to look at – they were making things which had a specific purpose, and making them beautiful as well as functional. Furthermore, they were passing on these skills and principles to others.

OK I have finished ranting now. [Except for one final quiet mutter – these notes were prepared by a MAN – is that significant do you think?]


  1. Ouf! There is a bit of a rant there, Ang! But I think you're right that sometimes certain gifts/talents are valued above others. And I also feel myself that I'm "wasting time" if I am enjoying myself crafting - no matter that I may be creating something that is useful!

  2. I need to get Hidden Art back to you. Pronto!

  3. Absolutely! It is very significant that the "notes" were written by a "man". It's "his" view and opinion of the Scripture passage the "notes" refer too, and is subject to error because he is only a man giving his opinion. I don't have The Message Bible to look at it all myself, but from what you've said, the note writer missed a lot of what was in the Scripture and/or added to it too.
    Good post!

  4. I agree with what you say about the teaching and the crafting for pleasure and usefulness but I also think that we can enjoy listening to music and watching dancing whilst crafting and art can make a dull surrounding more pleasant (depending on the subject)

  5. Usefulness is very important! Tis bizarre that he bypassed all the crafts mentioned and focused on music, particularly as I'll bet he has plenty of other times in the Bible commentary to talk about music and yet not so many to talk about these other crafts. Which, I am always amazed by! Functionality is very important as well! x

  6. The writer probably was not very artistic himself or else was trying to keep it simple and short, which is much the case these days.

    I had never noticed that particular section of scripture, Interesting.


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