Cross stitch is a form of counted thread embroidery that has been around for ages, and it is one of the easiest forms of hand embroidery to learn. Cross stitch is comprised of X-shaped stitches done on fabric with an even and open weave like Aida or linen. Designs can be traditional or modern or anywhere in between.
To create most cross stitch projects, however simple, the crafter needs to follow a pattern chart. On the chart there is a visual code that represents the different colours or shades of colour and their position on the grid. There are also codes for the different stitches that are used to create the picture. In some of the most intricate designs, the crafter must count the number of stitches in each section of the piece. This is to accurately replicate the picture.
How do we accurately reflect the picture of Jesus Christ in our every day lives? It is by daily looking to the cross. And how do we do this? By careful crafting of our thoughts, words and actions to create something beautiful.
The Bible instructs us to ‘Carefully guard your thoughts because they are the source of true life’ – Proverbs 4:23 (Contemporary English Version). Our thoughts can lead to positive or negative actions, depending on how we feed our minds. If we contemplate or dwell on topics and subjects that are edifying, uplifting, and enlightening, our words, demeanour, and attitude will reflect this. As he closes his letter to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul writes, ‘Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about’ – Phil 4:8 (The Living Bible).
There’s an old proverbial rhyme that states, ‘sticks and stones, will break your bones, but words will never harm you’. How wrong! The wrong words can be so hurtful. They can destroy the beautiful picture of peace in harmony in our souls. As we seek to accurately reflect Jesus, we need to be mindful of our words. ‘A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it! It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.’ – James 3:5-6 9 (The Message).
The ministry of Jesus was liberally scattered with intentional acts of kindness. He healed lepers; he fed the hungry. Little children were drawn to him as well as those with long-term health conditions, and of course, women. He welcomed foreigners, he ate with those who were rejected by ‘polite society’ and he died as a criminal between two thieves.
His ministry could be summed up in four words, ‘a lover of people’. Loving people sounds easy in theory, but it’s hard in practice. Like us, other people can be annoying, irritating, challenging, difficult and egotistical. But, if we see everyone as Jesus sees them, people in need of grace, in need of mercy and in need of His love, then we will treat them with kindness, courtesy and respect.
A completed cross stitch project represents hours of hard work, dedication, and commitment to the intricacy of the craft. Each of us can hear ‘Well Done!’ from Jesus, if we are faithful in our commitment to serve Him and accurately represent a picture of Him to the world around us.