The Works of Our Hands

Get Excited and Make Things

Matthew 8:3: Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

I don’t know if you were encouraged to make things by hand when you were younger. I know I certainly was, largely to keep my hands (and in some cases my feet) busy at some useful task so they would not break something valuable.

Bernard Tate narrated a classic example of using his hands and ingenuity with his story about improvising an instrument for watching the eclipse last week. Here’s what he wrote in one of his “Postcards from D.C.” emails, a series in which he writes about interesting or amusing or striking events or sights in the city.

“About noon on the day of the eclipse, a sudden “eclipse fever” hit the Government Accountability Office building, and everyone was asking each other if they had their eclipse glasses, or rushed to build pinhole viewers in which the pinhole acts as a lens and projects an image of the sun onto some surface. I went across the street to the CVS and bought a roll of aluminum foil.  I cut the front and back off my office steno pad, taped a piece of white paper on one piece, cut a hole in the other piece, taped aluminum foil over the hole, and punched a pinhole in the foil.

“Several folks had cereal box & shoe box pinhole viewers, but my little 10-minute special had a longer focal length and projected a bigger image…with the screen on the sidewalk and holding the pinhole five or six feet away, I got a half-inch image.”

It occurred to me that in his story, Bernard used his hands to create something timely and useful, and that got me to thinking that, while God created the universe and everything in it with words, God chose to fashion Adam directly from the earth. While we don’t know the exact process God used, I imagine it would have been something like hands or some other agency that could shape matter. As humans, we can be involved with God in co-creation using, along with other methods, our hands. Allowing us to be a part of what God does seems to me to be further evidence of the great love and grace that God bestows on us and on creation at every turn. Praise God for the works of hands, for love, grace and for creation. Amen.

 

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