For the second year in a row, a member of my church read the poem below written by Lucy Nanson, from New Zealand, at the Maundy Thursday service. Following this reading, everyone was invited to form two lines up in the center aisle to have one of two pastors pour water on our hands from a bowl at the front of church while making the sign of the cross on our palms. Next to each bowl were little wash cloths, neatly rolled up in a basket, to dry the hands.
Just like last year, my emotions were heightened and I had tears in my eyes while I listened to the poem and thought about how my hands fit many of the descriptions.
Maundy Thursday: Wash My Hands
Wash my hands on Maundy Thursday
not my feet
My hands peel potatoes, wipe messes from the floor
change dirty nappies, clean the grease from pots and pans
have pointed in anger and pushed away in tears
in years past they’ve smacked a child and raised a fist
fumbled with nervousness, shaken with fear
I’ve wrung them when waiting for news to come
crushed a letter I’d rather forget
covered my mouth when I’ve been caught out
touched forbidden things, childhood memories do not grow dim
These hands have dug gardens, planted seeds
picked fruit and berries, weeded out and pruned trees
found bleeding from the rose’s thorns
dirt and blood mix together
when washed before a cup of tea
Love expressed by them
asks for your respect
in the hand-shake of warm greeting,
the gentle rubbing of a child’s bump
the caressing of a lover, the softness of a baby’s cheek
sounds of music played by them in tunes upon a flute
they’ve held a frightened teenager,
touched a father in his death
where cold skin tells the end of life has come
but not the end of love,
comforted a mother losing agility and health.
With my hands outstretched before you
I stand humbled and in awe
your gentle washing in water, the softness of the towel
symbolizing a cleansing
the servant-hood of Christ.
Wash my hands on Maundy Thursday
and not my feet.
At the end of the service all lights went out in the church and the final moments of light at dusk was nearly the only light available to aid a handful of church members as they stripped the altar while my Pastor sang Psalm 22. For on this evening, Jesus is going to be betrayed by one of his disciples.
I was listening to a talk show on Moody Radio yesterday called Chris Fabry Live, and a caller mentioned that two people that night actually betrayed Jesus. Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus with a kiss and Peter denied knowing Him after His arrest.
This caller made me think about all the times I betrayed Jesus in my life. Judas could have asked for forgiveness and it would have been given. This breaks my heart to know that out of the guilt he felt, he hung himself without any attempt to seek forgiveness. Peter, on the other hand, recalled Jesus’s words predicting his betrayal, and he wept, asked for forgiveness, was granted it and used this as a stepping stone to witness for Christ.
Friends, it is not too late for you to ask for forgiveness for denying or betraying Jesus in your lifetime. As the events unfold for Jesus on this Good Friday, His arms will stretch out as wide as they can on the cross. His arms are opened wide for everyone to fit inside His embrace which never lets go.
Psalm 22:7 “Commit your cause to the Lord; let him deliver–let him rescue the one in whom he delights!”
I wrote in journals when I was younger. Regrettably, I disposed of them along the way. I wish I could go back and read and remember the specifics of my life that I felt so impelled to let out of my mind and onto a blank page.
I was raised in a Christian home; thank you mom and dad for this gift. Religion has always been the corner-stone of my life. I have attended many Bible studies throughout the years which helped me to grow my relationship with the Trinity. The Father created me, the Son died for me, and the Spirit guides me.
So why this blog?
I am a student of communication and I love to share information in an organized manner. If I had an opportunity to share the Gospel in a public forum, I would not be shy to do so as I conquered my greatest fear of public speaking while I attended college. However, I find that my thoughts are even more organized when I write. Something happens to me as I lose all sense of time rearranging the alphabet into words that are easy to understand and absorb by my followers.
Why this blog?
I’ll blame the Holy Spirit. When God wants you to do something, He does not let anything stand in the way. Since my first post on June 5, 2010 I have found a calm presence within by letting the Holy Spirit use me. Sharing personal stories with my readers shows that I am human, but in the painful stories, as well as the stories of joy, I find a way to praise God, which is what God wants us to do.
I want to be an encouragement to everyone that even though life is hard, it can be dealt with when you let God in your life. Let Him funnel the Holy Spirit through you and see how your life will be different. And your life will be different; I can attest to this movement.
For my long time followers, thank you for sticking with me. If you joined me recently, thank you! If you just found me today, please take a look at some of my previous posts.
The Holy Spirit is in this place. And for that, I am thankful that God brought me here to be here for you.
John 14:26 (NIV)
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.