Jesus’ Hands

I have been haunted, recently.

This haunting began when I said something to a friend.  There was a group of us, mostly followers of Christ.  This friend was expressing some pain, hurt, and sadness.  I said something that was not unique or special, really.  I asked, “How can we be God’s hands and feet and take care of you?”

And then it hit me, this haunting image: If we really want to be God’s hands and feet, our appendages?  They will need to have holes in them.

It struck me like a brain freeze, like rock from a sling to my forehead.  This unshakeable image of mangled, bloody hands and pierced feet.   It struck me, I suppose, because we so easily talk about wanting to be God’s hands and feet.  But we can live in denial of how very hard it is to be God’s hands and feet.


Don’t get me wrong.  I believe strongly that the contemporary evangelical church is a morbid beast.  I think that Passion movie was a glorified snuff film.  In short, I think our conversations about the death of Jesus need to be kept in a context with his life and his rebirth.

However, it also won’t do to pretend that the bible doesn’t speak about Jesus blood: on the one hand, dying wasn’t the only thing that Jesus did.  But on the other… it is something vitally important that he did do.

And so this image, of Jesus’ hands and feet, they serve as a brutal and terrible  and awe-inspiring reminder of the cost of loving people, a reminder of the sorts of things we are called to do.

As for me?  Well, I can’t say that I found a way to meaningfully and directly help this friend who was hurting.  Clearly I need to work at hard at heeding that call myself.


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

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