Today's Lectionary Text
Psalm 24:3-5, 9-10Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
Those who have clean hands and pure hearts,
who do not lift up their souls to what is false
and do not swear deceitfully.
They will receive blessing from the Lord
and vindication from the God of their salvation.
It was always obvious when the Smith family had been on vacation. Gary’s hands would be clean! Gary was a letter and offset pressman, and his hands were usually dirty with embedded ink. It took two weeks for it to wash out of the creases.
Those same hands, even when they looked really dirty, could do many things. They would hold a pinochle hand, and help a novice learn to hold twelve cards at once, even while explaining how to play the game. The hands demonstrated to young children how to fold a newspaper into a paper hat. Then, with a smile and a twinkle in his eyes he would don that hat or give it to the child. Gary knew how to have fun.
Gary’s hands held a grandchild’s hand to keep him safe going to the nearby school playground or they pushed another grandchild on the swing there. And, he walked hand in hand and sat alongside a granddaughter to watch IMAX movies at the Cosmosphere.
My dad used his hands every single day, in many ways. All of us use our hands daily to get us through the day. Dad used his to earn money to care for his family, and, like him, we can each use our hands, in some way, to care for others. Perhaps our hand could gently touch the shoulder of a lonely-looking person in the grocery line. Using both hands we might drive a car to and carry in Meals-on-Wheels. Or, hands can hold a telephone in order to visit with a shut-in. Of course, we can fold or raise our hands in prayer for a hurting world.
In Psalm 24 clean hands and pure hearts are significant as signs that one is prepared to offer worship to God. Clean or dirty, hands are useful in performing acts that spread God’s love. As we care for others we spread hope, we share great joy, and we adore God. By acting in caring ways, we embody the love with which God holds the world. So, where can we use our hands to care today?
-Rev. Dianne Tombaugh, retired
Prayer for Reflection
Holy God, use our hands to demonstrate, this day, your care for all you have created. Remind us to find ways to do this that fit our uniqueness. We delight in worshiping and serving you. Amen.
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