All Hands on Deck
by Vera Sim
I was watching the Laying on of Hands – a practice we have here at St. Peter’s – and wondered why hands were so important to us. Just out of curiosity, I looked up the word ‘hand’ in the Oxford Dictionary, where it read, “the terminal part of the human arm beyond the wrist”. A good description!
In medieval times, a thief who was caught “red-handed” simply had his hand cut off and a black cap put on the end of the arm – hence, the word “handicapped”.
Do you know that a whole page of the dictionary is used to explain our pre-occupation with hands? A horse is measured in hands, not feet. Cards are played in hands in more ways than one. We even ask a father for his daughter’s hand in marriage, and then call on the Mighty Hand of God to bless them.
The nerve endings in finger tips of the hand are so sensitive, they can move from stroking so gently a small kitten to a strong pressure to open the lid of a mason jar, or grip a piton on a mountain climb or gently separate the feathers of an oil-slicked bird.
Imagine the gentleness of the hands-on process: the hand of God moving above you, giving you hope and peace, with this prayer or one like it:
Almighty God, whose blessed Son did lay his hands upon the sick and heal them, grant we beseech you, to this your servant on whom we lay our hands in His name, refreshment of spirit, and according to your gracious will, restoration to health of body and mind through the same, you Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Be thankful for the many joys in our lives that come from a simple beginning with just a hand shake that says hello – you are welcome.