A Meditation on the Hands of Christ
(an abbreviated version of what I shared with our conference pastors this past Thursday)

If you’re like me, you become “grumpy pastor” about 10 days or so before Holy Week begins. The more of a perfectionist you are, the earlier the grumpiness beings. Weary is a word that describes many of us.

Or maybe you’ve been wounded: by life, by “friends,” by the church. We are the walking wounded.

So what do we do… the weary, wounded ones?

We look for the hands of Christ.

In John, chapter 13, we read that the Father had given all things into Jesus’ hands. And what does Jesus do with those hands? He washes feet. Stinky feet. Dirty feet. Lowly work. Slave work. Servant work. The first thing Jesus does after all power and authority has been given to him is “low” work, menial work, slave work.

He washes the feet of of us, the weary ones.

Another place we see Jesus’ hands is in the garden. Jesus’ betrayers have arrived. One even kisses him. And then things get heated and even before Jesus can answer the question, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” someone chooses violence and cuts off a soldier’s ear. We choose blood and vengeance so quickly. But not Jesus. He says, “No more of this!” and reaches out with his hand to heal the soldier’s ear. Healing hands. Jesus’ hands.

He heals the bodies of us, the wounded ones.

And there are the crucified hands. (The ones we’d rather not remember.)

And in the upper room, crowded with fear-filled disciples, there are the risen (yet wounded) hands, offered to the denying, deserting disciples… and even late-to-dinner Didymus: Thomas, the twin.

Still with the wounds, the scars, as if to say: The foot-washing hands are the healing hands are the crucified hands are the risen hands.

When those who created American Sign Language chose a sign for Jesus, it wasn’t a cross or even the one for “Lord,” but one that evoked the marks in those open hands.

Servant hands.
Healing hands.
Crucified hands.
Risen hands.

For you, weary and wounded ones… for all of us.