"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
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
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
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,