Yours Are the Hands
Thank you to all who joined our mid-year meeting this past Sunday. We opened with a beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace from our own LaTia Barrett, followed by this quote from 16th century nun, author, and mystic, St Teresa of Avila:
Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.
I’ve thought of St Teresa on more than one occasion this year at CPCUCC. I’ve witnessed congregants repeatedly go above and beyond with outreach, programming, and volunteerism. I am heartened by our continued on-line presence and encouraged by the planning that will make our hybrid services accessible to all when we do open our doors. Not to mention the new bathrooms that will greet us!
We closed our meeting by looking at our hands and re-hearing St Teresa’s powerful words that Christ has now hands on earth but ours. Someone quipped “Thank you for having me look at my hands. I guess Jesus has really wrinkly hands!” The philosophy major in me was intrigued by this joke. Obviously, Jesus did not live long enough to acquire the lines and grooves you might see when you look at your own fingers. What might it mean, though, if we are both made in God’s image and Jesus’ body here on earth?
To be clear, the United Church of Christ believes in metaphor: That our hands are our own, doing God’s work. When we take communion, it’s a remembering of Jesus’ life and sacrifice, not his actual blood and body. But there’s something to be said too, for transubstantiation—the literal re-membering of Christ in Teresa’s Catholic faith—that perhaps influenced her quote.
What if your feet really were Jesus’ feet? Would you anoint them with oil? Where might you walk, and with who? What if your hands really were his hands? Would you get more manicures? Who would you heal, and how?
We are of course human. We make mistakes. We hurt one another, sometimes on purpose, but often unintentionally. We certainly are not Jesus, yet our faith invites us to be more Christ-like. This Sunday our teen group will lead service and share their experience being God’s hands in the world. I am grateful to be part of a church with hands of all ages, coming together to nurture love of God and love of neighbor in the world.
Questions to ponder:
- What are some of your Christian/faith-based quotes, and why?
- How can you, as an individual, and we, as a church community, be Jesus’ hands, feet, and eyes in the world?
- If you were to treat your body as an actual embodiment of God among us, how might you treat it differently? Would you be more compassionate and less judgmental toward yourself?
In peace and community and holy embodiment,