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In the Hollow of God’s Hand – A Reflection

April 13, 2020
In the Palm of the Hand of God Cross – Made in Germany

It is the Monday after Easter. While we are still working on worship for the coming week, we have also had an opportunity to rest. As this new reality continues to unfold the one thing that I have been comforted by the concept represented by the cross pictured above. It also blends in quite well with the words of assurance that David M. Bailey shared in the lyrics to his song, “Lord, You Promised.”

The song can be summarized by these two lines: Lord you promised you would keep us living
In the hollow of your holy holy hand

These words are a comfort to us in these difficult times. The pandemic overwhelms… politics overwhelm… the misinformation overwhelms… to whom can we turn? In the words of the man with the son who was possessed to Jesus: I believe; help my unbelief! (Mark 9:24) In these times we often struggle to not be overwhelmed by the tsunami that is COVID-19 as it blasts its way across the nation and globe.

That is why this Lent has been such a challenge for many of us theologically and spiritually. As we waited with the women and the disciples on Holy Saturday we felt their fear and the mystery of the unknown. Life had changed for them in a most unusual and horrifying way.

For such a time as this, I have found myself going deeper into the silence to seek God’s guidance, comfort, wisdom, and strength. One of my sources for reflection and inspiration has been Thomas Merton. In the book Seasons of Celebration: Meditations on the Cycle of Liturgical Feasts Merton shares the following about the gift of Easter:

But now the power of Easter has burst upon us with the resurrection of Christ. Now we find ourselves a strength which is not our own, and which is freely given to us whenever we need it, raising us above the Law, giving us a new law which is hidden in Christ: the law of His merciful love for us. Now we no longer strive to be good because we have to, because it is a duty, but because our joy is to please Him who has given all His love to us! Now our life is full of meaning! (p. 118)

This is what I believe is the biggest gift of Easter. From the selfless sacrifice of Jesus on the cross to the self-giving love shown on the night he was betrayed as he washed Judas’ feet and broke bread with him; Jesus redefined discipleship and service in God’s name. We are called to love and to serve… we are called to reach out beyond barriers and borders put up by humankind… we are called to invite others to be sheltered in the hollow of God’s holy, holy hand.

4 Comments
  1. pynkoski2 permalink

    Tha law of merciful love…what a magnificent phrase. Merton unpacks this further in The Good Samaritan, where he sees mercy as “the mystery into which we enter when all concepts darken and evade us.” He goes on from there to frame a most wonderful approach to the difficult “angry” passages of scripture. The final four paragraphs of the essay are among Merton’s most profound, upending everything we have believed about God and about ourselves. Marvelous!

  2. A Beautiful reflection. It has certainly been a hard Lent with uncertainty ahead. The tsunami of Covid19 has touched so many places in our lives. And yet, God’s mercies continue to flow every morning. I find myself needing more time for silence, more time to rest in God’s presence.

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