Friday, June 15, 2012
New International Version (NIV)
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
Stark white hair, still thick enough to poof up, framed his aged, tan face. His long fingers reached into the mail box pulling out his morning newspaper. He turned back towards the stately, well-built home, each bush clipped to perfection, the walkway cutting through the manicured lawn. His white long-sleeved dress shirt was neatly tucked into his tan slacks, belted at the waist. Up since 4 a.m., waiting for the news to arrive, his morning routine found him sitting at the table, reading the front page, checking the stock report, and turning to the sports section.
Clasping the paper in one hand, both arms reached and met around his back, continuing his leisurely stroll as if waiting to notice something new in his yard, inspecting his lawn for any emerging trouble. He took his time and I watched him.
His stance is what caught my attention, gave me déjà vu.
Across the street from my childhood home, Mr. and Mrs. Ellinger lived. I have not thought of them in years. That déjà vu feeling? Mr. Ellinger from my front porch, hands grasped behind him, wisdom of the ages etched into his creases, middle of the street pillar of our block; it all came back. It was like seeing him again.
He looked like Mr. Ellinger, but especially the stance. That’s what did it; jogged my memory.
The stance, it’s one of surrender, relaxed and trusting. It's like he knows stuff you want to know. Hands at rest, yet clutching to each other.
My dirty, blistered and calloused hands are behind me now Lord. I am walking, seeing all you have done. I’ve used these hands for both good and sometimes, not so good. I’ve expressed my anger and I’ve pounded a fist. I’ve counted the toes of a newborn and written a eulogy. I’ve dug up weeds and planted roses. Waving, hugging, saluting, calling, writing, chopping, sewing, drawing…these hands show their use.
Lord, Grasping your promise, I place my hands behind me and surrender my doing. Though you call us to good works, I know it is Your hands, clasped to the cross that did the work for me. My hands cannot save. Thank you Lord for the gift of working hands. Continue to allow me to use them in ministry. Palms up, I pray surrendered to your will in Holy worship. Amen.