07 September 2010

Meditation: "Blessing Hands"

"Just like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel." --Jeremiah 18:6b

"A leper came to [Jesus] begging him, and kneeling he said to him, 'If you choose, you can make me clean.' Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him..." --Mark 1:40-41

"Take my hands, and let them move, at the impulse of thy love." --from the hymn, "Take My Life, and Let It Be" by Frances Havergal

Dear Friends,

One by one, they came extended to me. In pairs or singly, palm up or palm down--they were offered to me. Some were offered hesitantly, even shyly. Others were presented eagerly, confidently. Some were crooked with age and others straight and young. They were rough and calloused, they were soft and warm. Some were adorned with jewelry, others bore nothing but freckles and their God-given hue. There were scars on a few (one had part of a finger missing and another was encased in a cast) and, if not scars, then deep lines full of stories.

"May God bless your hands, that they will move at the impulse of God's love." And then the sign of the cross in oil, gently traced in the tender skin of the palm or across the veins and fine bones on the back of the hand.

Last Sunday during worship, as I blessed the hands of our congregation, I was surprised by the lump growing in my throat as more and more hands passed beneath my own. I felt keenly aware of the humanity of each person. I felt acutely the vulnerability of open, extended hands. I was completely overwhelmed by all that those hands have touched and done and suffered over each lifetime. Those hands have cooked and cleaned and cared, those hands have cradled babies and caressed loved ones. Those hands have worked hard, given rise to blisters, to support a family, to build, to plant. Those hands have created beauty, with paint, with fabric, with music, with words. Those hands have held guns in far off lands and held hands as life ebbed away. Those hands have helped and healed and, in some cases, hurt others. Those hands have prayed and clapped and been offered in love. So much life in those hands, all those hands I was blessed to bless.

Have you seen a time-lapse photo before? The kind where the camera shutter is left open capturing the blurred motion of the subject (like stars moving across the night sky, tracing their path in light)? I thought, "All these hands...What if it were possible to take a time-lapse photo of each pair of hands in motion throughout its lifetime, and then merge all the images into one?" I am certain that, if we looked closely enough at that blurred image, we'd catch a glimpse of God.

Look at your hands. Look closely, carefully.

"May God bless your hands, that they will move at the impulse of God's love."

Blessings on you,


1 comment:

  1. So lovely, Jeremy. We have not had a blessing of the hands at our church. What a wonderful way to start the fall, beginning of the school year.

    Aunt Wilda