Do You Need a Prayer Shawl?
(Posted December 1, 2022)
By Rev. Pat Kriss, Pastor
When we gather this Second Sunday of Advent, we will celebrate all of those volunteers who spend their evenings and spare moments knitting or crocheting a kind of spiritual “hug” for those have experienced illness, loss, loneliness and, in some cases, have a need to hold on to hope. Most importantly, we will give out prayer shawls to anyone who asks.
Heidi Palmer, who heads up the Prayer Shawl program, will be with me when we bless and dispense the prayer shawls to anyone who knows of a person who could benefit from one. It may be a friend. It may be yourself. Whatever the reason, to have a prayer shawl around your shoulders is to know that the person who created it wove a prayer into every row.
Prayer shawls are found in so many faith traditions around the globe. We often think of the Hebrew Tallit as the distinctive blue and white shawl that is worn by the Jewish faithful. Jesus wore one when he prayed. The fact is that in the Christian tradition prayer shawls are part of a significant moment in the life of people seeking to wrap themselves in a time of spirituality. The yarns that are used are donated to First Church, often when a knitter has finished a project and has more left than they can use.
Who Gets a Prayer Shawl?
Every baby or toddler when they are baptized at First Church starts out their life with a prayer shawl. Many people departing this life will find themselves swaddled in the warmth of a shawl. And so it is true for people going through important times: an illness, the end of a relationship, a period of depression, job loss, a miscarriage or a still birth. And for those people on the go, our Prayer Shawl knitters have created small “pocket prayer shawls” that can dwell in a purse or pocket, to be touched and held during a busy day.
I invite you to join us this Sunday, December 4 to celebrate not only the Second Sunday of Advent, but the continued loving spirit of our prayer shawl creators who are ready to reach out and touch someone you know with love and compassion. -- Pastor Pat Kriss
A Prayer Shawl Blessing
From the Prayer Shawl Ministry begun at Hartford Seminary, the blessing of the shawl:
May God's grace be upon this shawl...
warming, comforting, enfolding and embracing.
May this mantle be a safe haven... a sacred place of security and well-being...
sustaining and embracing in good times as well as difficult ones.
May the one who receives this shawl be cradled in hope, kept in joy, graced with peace,
and wrapped in love. Blessed Be!