Those of us of a certain age will remember the song sung by Max Bygraves, “You need Hands”
If you have ever injured your hand, you will know how true this is. Hands are hugely important to our everyday living and help us in the most menial of tasks. So many times in the Bible we hear of Jesus reaching out to people by laying hands on them. We all know how reassuring it is when we are unhappy to have someone just touch us . Their hope and concern transports itself from them to us and we feel happier.
The artist Albrecht Durer sketched, among other things, his brother’s hands. This has become known as “The Praying Hands”. They show hands joined together as if in prayer, but crippled with arthritis and covered in calluses These hands are a symbol of the sacrifice that Albrecht’s brother made, so that he could pursue his career as an artist. He was not bitter that he had to work in the mines while his brother spent his days painting.
During Lent, we think of the sacrifice that Jesus made for each one of us. This was done out of love for us and, because of his immense sacrifice, we love Jesus all the more. We have probably all had to make sacrifices for our loved ones at some stage in our lives. It does not make us think less of the person, we are glad that we can do it and glad that it makes them happy. Our happiness is in seeing our loved ones happy.
There is a wonderful story in the Gospel , (Mark 5:25–34, Matthew 9:20–22, Luke 8:43–48). where a women touched the hem of Jesus’ garment to be freed of her disease. Jesus knew in that moment, amongst that huge crowd, somebody had reached out to him in need. He responded and she was healed. Through this story we know that Jesus is always waiting for us to reach out to him and we can be sure he will respond to us.
Our wish during Lent is that we too reach out to those in need and respond to them by reaching out and offering a hand of love and friendship.