I praise you, for I am most fearfully and wonderfully made.
For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Since the industrial revolution, it seems to me that handicrafts such as pottery and knitting have become past times, hobbies, that are somewhat dismissed and of little value. No longer were these skills vital for our warmth or sustenance. No need for warm jumpers, slowly and elaborately made, when a machine can whip one up in a jiffy. No need for pottery tumblers to drink from, each with its maker’s thumbprints evident, when cups formed through moulds are turned out in their hundreds. No need at all.
And this removal of our experience makes our readings a little more removed too. Jeremiah going down to the potter’s house to see him make and remake vessels is something that I and others have rarely experienced. And the poetic thought of God forming, knitting together, our intricate bodies “in utero” conjures up a less than perfect image of God labouring over a couple of needles and dropped stitches. That’s not quite the image that the psalmist had in mind. Instead, he was thinking of the beautiful and mind blowingly complicated gloves and patterns knitted by artisans, utilising silks and fine gold filaments to create exquisite garments to be worn by priests in the temple.
That’s each of us too, isn’t it? Beautiful and mind blowingly complicated. What a clever metaphor for the act of creation. We understand and know so much more about how a foetus develops from a fertilised egg to emerge as a tiny little person, but when you hold a new born baby, how can you fail to find yourself marvelling at this miracle that God has wrought. Over and over again.
None of us are completely perfect, each of us is a wee bit different, but on this Father’s Day, think on your own children and on the children you have loved, and join with me and the psalmist. ….I praise you Lord, for we are most fearfully and wonderfully made.
God bless you and those whom you care for,