Sunday, February 17, 2013

Prayers Squared: Esther's Courtyard

Hand made gifts are given from the heart, when you pray as you make the gift, it's also from your soul. Afghan squares are a great way to add a special show of love and prayer to any gift you give someone who knits/crochets. Given enough squares, they can be made into a physical reminder of the love poured into each stitch.

Esther's Courtyard:

by JM Jones

Finished measurements: 6x6
Lion Brand Pound of Love acrylic WW yarn
I/5.5 mm hook
Special stitches: Bullion (BN8): wrap yarn around hook 8 times, insert hook in sp indicated, yo, pull up a loop, yo pull through all loops on hook, ch 1 to close.
Start with Magic Loop,
Rnd 1: Ch 3 (counts as beg dc now & throughout), 2 dc, (ch 2, 3 dc) 3 times, ch 2, sl st to top of beg ch-3, pull tail to tighten loop. (12 dc, 4 ch-2 sps)
Rnd 2: Ch 3, dc in next 2 sts, *(2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in corner ch-2 sp,** dc in next 3 sts*, work from * to * 3 more times, ending at ** on the final rep, sl st to top of beg ch-3. (28 dc, 4 ch-2 sps)
Rnd 3: Ch 1, sc in same st, *ch 3, skip dc, sc in next dc, ch 3, skip next 2 dc, (sc, ch 3, sc) in corner ch-2 sp,** ch 3, skip next 2 dc, sc in next dc,* repeat from * to * 3 more times, ending at ** on the final rep, join with dc in the first sc (forming last ch-3 loop). (16 sc, 16 ch-3 sps)
Rnd 4: Sl st into ch-3 sp (ch 3, 2 dc) in same ch-3 sp, *2 BN8 in next ch-3 sp, 3 dc in next ch-3 sp, (3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc) in corner ch-3 sp,** 3 dc in  next ch-3 sp,*  repeat from * to * 3 more times ending at ** on the final rep, sl st to top of beg ch-3. (48 dc, 8 BN8=2 BN8 in the middle ch-3 sp on each side)
Rnd 5: Ch 2, hdc in each st to corner, (2 hdc, ch 2, 2 hdc) in corner ch-2 sp repeat from * to * 3  more times, hdc in next 3 sts, sl st top of the ch-2. (72 hdc)

Rnd 6: Ch 1, sc in same st, sc in every st to corner ch-2 sp, 3 sc in ch-2 sp, repeat from * to * 3 more times, sc in each st until the first sc on rnd, sl st to the first sc, finish off and weave in ends. (80 sc)

© Copyright February 2013 by JM Jones, all rights reserved. This pattern, in whole or part, may not be reproduced – mechanically, electronically, or by any other means, including photocopying—without the written permission of JM Jones. Projects made from this pattern may be gifted, swapped or sold. If you use this pattern to sell items on the internet, kindly credit JM Jones as the designer.

One of my favorite biblical characters is Queen Esther. Esther became Queen of Persia after Queen Vashti refused to appear before King Ahasuerus during a feast he was giving. Esther was a Jew, a people that had been taken captive by Persia long before the story of Esther begins. Her people were also despised by some in the kingdom, one particular man, Haman, was powerful. Haman made a decree that all of the Jewish people in the land were to be executed. When Mordecai, a relative of Esther, found this out, he petitioned Esther to intercede on behalf of her people with the king. Esther, knowing that appearing before the king unsummoned could mean her death, prayed and fasted with her people, then adorned herself with her best cloths and beauty treatments and appeared before the king. She invited Ahasuerus and Haman to a feast she was giving in their honor. When Esther informed the king that it was her people that Haman wanted to execute, he decided to hang Haman on the gallows built to kill Mordecai. Esther's people were safe and able to defend themselves in case someone did try to kill them. Esther and Mordecai had favor with the king. Mordecai was even promoted to the position that Haman held.*

The reason the story of Esther is one of my favorites is due to the courage one woman had that saved her people. She could have kept silent, the king and Haman did not know Esther was a Jew, but she knew she could not. Faced with annihilation of her family and friends she faced her own mortality and interceded for her people. What a picture of Christ this is! He, too, was faced with His own mortality to save His people (Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, John 19). Though He was rejected by His people, He died on the cross to be the final blood sacrifice, the perfect holy Lamb so that His people would no longer be separated from God. He came, gave His life and rose from the dead for us to gain a life with Him, the only life with meaning (Matthew 28:1-8, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-10).

The courage of a young woman saved her people, the sacrifice of a perfect holy Lamb saved His people. Would I be able to do the same?

*Esther's story is found in the book of Esther from the Old Testament.