Wounded hands.

Every week during term time, a group of us from church go into a couple of local schools to do assemblies.  It’s part of Bible Society’s Open the Book programme.  It’s fun.  Apart from the weekly difficulties of remembering which kids have recently volunteered and which haven’t (in their eagerness, they sometimes ‘forget’ that they took part last week, and it’s really not their turn this week!), it’s a very enjoyable experience.  It starts with the classic ‘Good Morning everyone’ type opening, then there’s a little intro, followed by an acted story from the Bible, and rounded off with a summing-up, a prayer and a song. Last term, our go-to song was ‘Our God is a great big God’.

It goes like this:

Our God is a great big God
Our God is a great big God
Our God is a great big God
And He holds us in His hands

He’s higher than a skyscraper
He’s deeper than a submarine
He’s wider than the universe
And beyond my wildest dreams
He’s known me and He’s loved me
Since before the world began
How wonderful to be a part of
God’s amazing plan

(c) Nigel and Jo Hemming, 2000

And as we’ve sung it over the course of a few weeks, and we’ve joined in with the actions, I’ve been struck by that line, ‘And He holds us in His hands’.  The way the song is traditionally (?!) sung, it includes that line being almost whispered towards the end – as we were facing a group of 4-8 year olds, all with hands cupped in front of them, singing ‘And he holds us in His hands’, I was struck by the tenderness of God.  I was also struck by how much He’d enjoy the rendition!  A mighty God, a Great Big God, who tenderly holds us in His hands.

And then a new depth was added to this as I was doing Morning Prayer a little while ago. This daily service includes prayers and Bible readings.  After Psalm 31 came this prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ,
when scorn and shame besiege us
and hope is veiled in grief,
hold us in your wounded hands
and make your face shine on us again,
for you are our Lord and God.

“… your wounded hands …”

That really hit me.  When you have wounded hands, holding onto something hurts.  The holding makes you more aware of the wounds.  The wounded hands were, of course, wounded on the cross.  The one who loves us is the one who was wounded for us, and yet He is the one who still holds us in His hands.  We see His love in the wounds, and we feel His love in the holding.

—————————————————-

In many ways, I could just stop typing there.  But I won’t, because I want to make one more link.  To me, this prayer is an encouragement to the wounded pastor.  I know some pastors who hide from their wounds, and conceal their wounds from others.  But it seems that often the pastor who is visibly wounded is the one who in turn offers the greatest and most meaningful help to others who are wounded.  Compassion is, at its root, suffering with others.  In the pastoral realm, it seems to me that those who acknowledge their own wounds seem often to be those who are best at treating the wounds of others.  So thank you to all those pastors in my life who have travelled wounded, and brought hope to many on their journey.

And my prayer for those of you who are wounded is that our Great Big God would hold you in His wounded hands.

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2 Responses to Wounded hands.

  1. frmary66 says:

    What am I thinking? That I’m proud of you, son, and hope you don’t mind my saying so in public. And it’s true what you say about wounded pastors: the other thing is that letting our wounds be known helps others to be real, and that’s hugely important. Too many Christians out there who feel they should look like they are in triumph all the time, when underneath they’re crumbling.

  2. Dorothy says:

    I’m reading this on the bus going home from a meeting which has torn open very old wounds – wounds caused in the first place by dancing teaching at Sunday school. Somehow, on a level level deeper than intellectual reasoning, this image of the wounded hands holding me in my woundedness makes sense. Thank you. And thank God for the serendipity of this popping into my inbox in this moment.

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