May 10, 2022
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, the image of God’s hands emerges in each of our readings.
There were some …. proclaiming the Lord Jesus.Acts 11:21
The hand of the Lord was with them
and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.
I know them, and they follow me.John 10:28
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.
No one can take them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,John 10:29
and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.
Each of these images evokes and inspires our trust that God abides with and sustains us – that we are in God’s hands.
We all know what it’s like to place ourself in someone else’s hands. Sometimes we do it willingly, sometimes not. Sometimes it is an act of trust, sometimes fear.
This morning, as I pray, I remember two parallel but distinctly different incidents of being in someone else’s hands.
In the first, I went with friends on a drive to the top of Pike’s Peak in Colorado. It was before the serpentine road was paved in 1999. The driver was the young cowboy nephew of one of the passengers, and he thought it was really fun to scare us out of our wits. He took the many curves and switchbacks at headlong speed. I closed my eyes and started praying. It was uncomfortable being in his hands, so to speak.
The second memory is more recent. Just before my knee replacement surgery, as I lay slightly anesthetized in pre-op, my surgeon came to the bedside. He sat down, took my hand and said, “I want you to know that I will do the surgery myself and be with you the whole time. I am putting my initials on your knee so you can be certain I’ll fix the right one.” He smiled, and I again closed my eyes and started praying.
What different prayers they were! One was begging God to intervene and save me. The other was thanking God for putting me in trustworthy hands.
With God, we are always in trustworthy hands. Indeed, sometimes it may feel like God is flying over the edge of Pike’s Peak with us in the back seat. But here’s the thing: God is in the car with us – and God always lives! If we give ourselves completely to God in trust, we will live too.
Eventually, our practice of trust grows enough to comfort us in all things. We realize God is always sitting beside us, taking our hand, assuring us of that Loving Presence Who always abides.
A great freedom comes with that realization, steeped in years of trust and understanding that God’s Will for us is our eternal good. The preachers in Acts today, and the disciples in John rejoiced and acted in such trust. May we too be strengthened, blessed, and impelled by it.
Poetry: Reconciliation – Renee Yann, RSM
The hands of God love me
when I cannot see God’s face.
Like salve, they warmly run
over, in, and out of me,
pausing where my hurt is knotted,
barbed to their approach…
mother’s hands, lover’s, friend’s,
my own hands held in God’s hands,
I come to God’s hands
like broken earth
stretches for redeeming rain.
Even in the deep night,
where God will not speak,
those loving hands are words
which I answer in the darkness.
Music: Into Your Hands – Ray Rep
Into Your hands we commend our spirit –Ray Repp
Into Your hands we commend our spirits O Lord,
Into Your hands we commend our hearts.
For we must die to ourselves in loving You,
Into Your hands we commend our love.
O God, my God, why have You gone from me,
Far from my prayers, far from my cry?
To You I call and you never answer me,
You send no comfort and I don’t know why!
You’ve been my guide since I was very young,
You showed the way, you brought relief;
But now I’m lonely, nobody’s by my side:
Take heed, my Lord, listen to my prayer.