In Your Hands

“Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place?  Those who have clean hands and pure hearts, who do not lift up their souls to what is false, and do not swear deceitfully.  They will receive blessing from the LORD, and vindication from the God of their salvation.  Such is the company of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah”
 (Psalm 24:3-6 NRS).

Clean hands and pure hearts.  Now that is something to which I aspire.  Often I feel as though I fall painfully short.  While I am personally more prone to sin with my mouth than my hands, I know that my hands are not always clean.  Often they are idle.  My heart?  It too is a place where sinful thoughts and intentions hide.  While I wish my heart were pure, full only of good thoughts about God and love for all humanity, I know better.  When I focus upon cleaning my hands, my heart falls to impurity.  When I turn to my heart, my hands suddenly seem to grow dirtier.  Perhaps my problem is a failure to adopt a unified effort.  Maybe clean hands and pure heart looks more like this:

“My Heart is Yours” by Jenni Holma

How quickly I seem to have forgotten that I serve a God who promotes unity of heart, mind, and being.  Why wouldn’t God want my hands and my heart to be in unity as well?  Of course, God does want this.  This is exactly why Christ told his disciples to reveal his love through the merciful and compassionate works of their hands.  He tell us to feed the hungry, give a drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, and reach out to all those who are lost and suffering.  This wasn’t a metaphor; Jesus meant reach out physically.  Extend your hand and touch those that the world shuns.  Have we forgotten how Christ chose time and time again to heal by touch, even when he proved he could heal with his word?  The healing touch is one of the greatest gifts Christians have; it is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit.  We choose to clasp our hands in private prayer and avoid the touch of others.  When we take the hand of another, we pass the peace of Christ to them.  So who am I to keep the peace of Christ to myself?

When we use our hands to do the work of Jesus Christ, to be in mission, to serve others, we can look down and see that our heart is in our hands.  It is vulnerable and exposed.  While it is natural to fear this kind of extreme openness, I believe that is exactly what Christ expects of us, what he modeled for us.  Where have your hands been?  How pure is your heart?  The next time to see another person and you feel that instinctive desire to shove your hands in your pockets and walk away, don’t.  Put your heart in your hand, and extend it.  Just maybe that tingle when another person’s flesh touches ours is the purification our heart so desperately needs.  It’s in your hands now.

Our Lord and Savior,
You made yourself vulnerable, even unto death for us.
How do we repay you?
How do we honor your sacrifice and memory?
We shun those you call us to serve, to love,
With whom we should be in relationship.
We chose our personal comfort over your call.
Forgive us, we pray.
By your grace, we will grow and open ourselves to the world.
We will seek out opportunities to use our hands in your ministry.
Let us become pure in heart and clean in hand.
Unite our inner self with our outer being.
May our faith be tangible in our physical body;
As others witness your glory in our works,
The fruit of our faith.
Even now, my hands are clasped in prayer,
But they are beginning, little by little,
To be opened to the world.
Thank you, Lord.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s