Lent 2020 Sample Page
Hands of Love
With so much focus on hands at the moment, I've been thinking of Albrecht Dürer's iconic pen and ink drawing 'Praying Hands', from 1508.
Dürer loved the intricate features of God's Creation, which are detailed so lovingly here.
They remind me, during these uncertain times, of the connection we can all have with God, in every moment, in every one of our daily actions.
* * *
I think of Jesus, out there where we've left him since Ash Wednesday in the wilderness, slowly examining his hands. Pondering his own physicality, his createdness, with the loving eye of the artist.
I imagine him searching in a Wadi for a pool from which to drink. Perhaps he caught his own reflection, a moment of presence, in the water, before his hands then broke that surface.
Imagine him washing those hands, with loving care. I don't expect he rushed the process. And then, parched and hungry, cupping them, to drink.
* * *
I've decided to use the ritual of hand-washing as a prayerful 20-second meditation, during this most unforgettable season of Lent, to connect me in three fluid ways to God and each other, especially while we're physically out of touch. Perhaps you'd like to join me, today, in whispering these words (in bold below) quietly, slowly.
(And just within this moment as you read, you may like to take a breath, pause, and put your hands lovingly together, as in the 'Praying Hands' drawing):
1. "Wash us clean."
We remember the words of Psalm 51, “Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow… Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
2. "We are in your hands."
We are in God's hands, whatever our circumstances, today. "The life of every living thing is in [Your] hand," Job said (Job 12). Commit yourself afresh to God.
3. "Help us be your hands."
As Teresa of Avila once wrote, “Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands no feet… but yours.”
* * *
Hands are so extraordinary, when you stop to think about them. Albrecht Dürer's hands themselves drew such a soulful picture that connects us just as powerfully today, as ever. Think of the artistry contained within every single one of us; even our very finger-prints, a unique expression of God's creativity and care. Each of us with the potential to touch the world uniquely in God's great love, today.
And one last thing to recall, as we pause for meditation at the taps.
Jesus didn't wash his hands of us, even to the last, though Pilate washed his hands of him. In the same way, let's not wash our hands of each other, but for each other - as we bring that loving touch of God to life.
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I can see the half-moon up there, setting, as the sun begins to rise.
May you be held in the Creator's love, from morning 'til night.
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* Use the washing meditation today:
Wash us clean. ("Create in me a clean heart, O God")
We're in your hands. ("The life of every living thing is in your hand.")
Help us be your hands. ("Christ has no hands on earth but ours.")
* Have a closer look at Dürer's drawing. Let it speak to you in ways beyond words.
* In a few quiet moments later, take a look at your own hands, through 'the eye of the artist'. Remember that your finger prints are unique and express the potential for each of us to respond uniquely, practically and creatively, with loving hands, today.
* If you haven't yet read Fr Richard Hendrick's powerful reflection 'Lockdown', it's well, well worth it.