MARCH 2015 LETTER from the RECTORY
My dear friends as part of my Lenten Discipline, I am reading the Archbishop of Canterbury’s book by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, (if you have the chance I would recommend this to you), it is entitled, ‘In God’s hands’ and it got me to thinking about hands and what we use them for, what we shouldn’t use them for and what we should use them for and about God’s hands and what he uses them for.
In any given day, what do we use our hands for, to open curtains, to make a cup of tea, to cook or to wash up, to drive the car and more, all the mundane things of life, the daily chores; and what of the need for our hands in our job of work or employment, the computer keyboard, the feeding of the stock, the snippety snip of scissors? Productive use of our hands
But that’s not all, hands for washing, cleaning teeth, brushing hair, helping dress, keeping house, body and clothes clean, used for leisure and more.
What about hands for healing, stroking, comforting? Or hands for holding, gripping, supporting? Or even hands for shaking, squeezing, or intertwining? All positive, feel-good uses for hands and without which our lives would be the poorer.
Hands can be used for other less productive, less feel-good reasons too, to cause damage, or destroy, to hit, to slap and more.
How do we use our hands? And how do we want to, that’s a good question? During Lent we are looking at the stewardship of gifts, a good way of engaging with that is to consider how we use our hands, and what does that convey, how do we use them for the good of the church, and how might we use them better. Use them for good rather than ill .all very simple and straight forward and easy on paper but in practice… well that’s a different story.
Well, maybe it might help to think and reflect during Lent about Jesus and his hands, he was the one who laid his hands on children and encouraged them to come and be welcomed and blessed by him, and urged us to do the same, hands of welcome and acceptance.
He used his hands for healing all manner of people in oh so many ways, and would expect nothing less of his disciples.
He used his hands to bless and share all he had with others, an example we would do well to follow.
Hands that in a fit of anger, turned over tables in the temple, righteous anger that fought against injustice, exploitation, stamping out right from wrong and even more.
And he used his hands to bear our sins on Good Friday, hands bearing the pain of nails and more, hands outstretched and open,, willing to bear our load, hands ready to embrace and forgive those who tormented him, not just then but now as well and hands open wide to receive those who wished love and blessing and a willingness to accept God’s free gift of grace. Christ’s hands, God’s hands, open and outstretched towards us, all of us. Will we put our hands in the hands of the man who stilled the waters, or in those of the man who calmed the sea? Or into God’s hands not just during Lent but always and if we do, to how and share those hands that have received, with those who now wait expectantly on us. I certainly hope so.
As we continue our journey then into Lent let us thank God for his outstretched hands of love not just to us but others and let us commit ourselves to being Christ’s hands to others and let us use our hands to make that commitment in prayer and action.
Let us put our hands on our heart to signify our love of and for God, put our thumbs up to signify our love for each other, link our fingers together to signify our unity. Reach out our hands to signify our mutual support and put our hands together to signify our commitment to pray ….into your hands O Lord I commend my spirit, today, tomorrow and for all my tomorrows.
Till next time.