The hand is one of the most complex and beautiful pieces of engineering in the human body.

Our hands help us to do so many things like writing, holding, carrying, playing games, playing a piano or guitar, using a computer, texting on phones and a million other things.

Human hands not only do the tasks we need to do, but they help us to communicate with others.

Stroking and patting can show others that we care about them.

We use hands to defend ourselves.

We can become skilful in crafts and arts.

We use our hands in sign language.

We use hands to show other road users where we want to go when we’re riding bikes.

And we can use our hands to bless.

Which brings me to this story…….

It happened in the 1930s, and involves an exchange between two particular men.

It goes something like this:

There once was a devout Christian who was an engineer.

One day, his work took him to a Railway Works in Swindon where the great locomotives were built.

A young manager showed him round, and after this tour of inspection, they walked to the gate of the factory.

They stood for a few minutes, chatting, and then the visiting engineer thanked the manager, and stretched out his hand to say goodbye. The other man did the same. They started to shake hands, but almost immediately the engineer let go. The younger man’s hand had a cold, fishy feel to it.

Quickly he realised his mistake, for the young manager looked embarrassed.

The younger man then explained that when he was an apprentice, a nail was driven through his hand and ever since he’d never been able to close it.

The visiting engineer then laid his hand on the manager’s shoulder, and said:

“19 hundred years ago, there was a young carpenter from Nazareth. They drove a nail through HIS hand and he too has never been able to close it since.”

His hands are open hands – inviting us to him. Hands raised in blessing. Hands of welcome, healing, and love.

He has no hands but our hands to do His work on earth. If we don’t feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, entertain the stranger, visit the imprisoned, and clothe the naked, who will?”

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Filed under The Ramblings of a Reformed Ecclesiastic

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