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Where have you left your hand prints?

October 12, 2016

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On Tuesday October 11, my husband and I traveled to Illinois for a meeting.  It was held at a church that we used to serve.  It was good to see people we knew at the church – both the retired clergy and the church people serving a wonderful meal.  This church did a building program while we were there.  The kids and youth each put their handprint in colorful paint on ceramic tiles which were then put on the wall.  They decorate the wall and grace us with their presence. There as we passed to go and eat were all the handprints – our son’s included.  He was 13 at the time – now he is 25.

All these “kids” have grown.  Some are getting married but they are all doing adult things and making a difference in the world.  There stands a testimony in time to their handprint – caught in time and space.  They have moved on and used their hands and heads and hearts to make a difference in the world.

It got me to thinking – where have I left my handprints? Physically my handprints are in the cement at the home I was born at and are footprints in the cement driveway of the home my mother and sister still live at.  Kids make their handprints into gifts through pictures and plaster of paris for Mother’s Day.

We leave our mark on the world in so many ways.  Climate change is happening because all of our hands have not done what is best for the continuation of the world.  We can choose to have our hand recycle at home and away.  We can choose to raise our hand in political places and ask questions and give responses and stand up to oppose things that bring destruction to our earth.  We can choose to have our hand be support for people on the front line of protest and be there ourselves.

We can use our hands to hold books and papers and Kindles to read and be educated so we can talk to others and help them see how dire some things are and the changes all of us need to make in our life styles to save our planet.

Look at your hand.  When I look at mine, I see my short little fingers.  That hasn’t stopped me from playing the piano, the organ, the guitar, hammered and mountain dulcimers, clarinet and recorders.  I have stretched my finger and given back massage (strong piano fingers do a great job with massages). I have used them to hold pens, paintbrushes, and markers.  I have used my hands to type and write.  Somedays I can even think my hands are unstoppable!

Look at your hands.  What have they helped you accomplish?  Maybe they hurt and don’t work like they used to.  Today, love your hands.  Your hands, no matter what shape they are in, can make a difference in the world.  They can make phone calls.  They can work your smart phone.  They can hold someone’s hand that needs someone to listen to them.  You can use them to pray, to hug, to hold and to share.

Henri Nouwen wrote a book “With open hands”.  Many times we start out with clenched fists.  That position isn’t emotionally or physical useful.  The book is the process by which we can moved from clenched fists to open hands.

There is a prayer practice of closing your eyes and laying your open hands on your lap and imaging them being filled by all your prayer concerns – hurts, needs, etc.  Each time you think of something you turn your hands down as if to turn the concerns and pain over to God for healing and care.  When you can’t think of anything else, you hold your hands open and think of your blessings and bring your hands to your heart to be filled by each blessing.  When you have shared all your pain and received all your blessings you say Amen.

May you use your hands this week to make a difference in the world and in other’s lives.  No matter their shape or status, they and you are a powerful team in the world for good.  Use your hands and time well this week and leave your handprint mark for others to see.

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