I attended a meeting the other day. It was a gathering of about 20 women, ranging in age from upper teens to senior citizens. This group represented a wide array of occupations, interests, ethnic backgrounds, and levels of education and income, yet all had come together with a common purpose. The meeting happens on a weekly basis, and while it's scheduled to last about 2 hours, people start arriving up to 3 hours early.
One woman had experienced life-changing trauma since the meeting the week before. She came in in tears and was immediately hugged and comforted by everyone present, and before the meeting was over there was a smile on her face and peace in her heart.
Another girl had exciting news, which she shared with the group. All shared her joy, and exclaimed encouragingly on how she deserved it. She was a little more animated than usual, and left a little more confident.
There was also a newcomer, venturing in shyly to see what this was all about. She left a convert, fully embracing the shared belief of the group and determined to return the next week and uphold their common cause in the intervening days.
The mature were asked for advice, which was freely given and willingly accepted. Since age is no indicator of experience in this group, everyone present interacted as equals, only deferring when advice was needed. And the need for help was not belittled or suppressed - as soon as a question arose, it was asked and answered.
This utopia isn't fiction; it's a tale that occurs on a weekly (sometimes monthly) basis all over our country, and their numbers are growing as each new convert converts others. And I wish with all my heart that I could tell you that the place where these life-changing gatherings meet is a church - but it's not. This group that has somehow bridged all divides convenes to knit. Knitting is their sole commonality, and yet there is a sense of community among them that I have yet to find in a church.
Knitters have already broken the missional code - they have crossed every divide and joined together in harmonious community. They have learned what matters and what doesn't, and they have bonded in extraordinary ways. It is rare to find a solitary knitter; one who sits at home knitting and reading books on knitting, but has absolutely no desire to share their craft. Knitters burn with a passion that drives them to show others the things that they create, and to teach the uninitiated how to create. It's a beautiful model of community and discipleship - and it's one that, with the double drive of a knitter and a follower of Christ, I desire to share.