In the church where I am a pastor I have earned the name "loving hands and divine feet" because if something does not fall out of my hands, I hit it with my feet. That clumsiness has been the occasion for little courage, a few fears, and a lot of laughter. That "nickname" is based on a beautiful hymn of yesteryear, which is precisely entitled: Manos Cariñosas (Caring Hands). Its first verse goes like this:
Loving hands, hands of Jesus, hands that bore the heavy cross. Hands that knew only how to do good, Glory to those hands! Alleluia! Amen!
The hymn highlights the love of God through the loving hands of Jesus, which only knew how to do good. Therefore, those hands did not deserve to carry the heavy cross. Those hands did not deserve such suffering and pain. The story of Jesus can help us to consider that, perhaps, people who live doing good may wonder about this global pandemic and its ravages, if most of humanity does not deserve it.
That is why on the cross Jesus asked the important question: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”(reference to Mark 15:34) Yes, why? For what? Those of us who preach the Bible from the loving hands of Jesus have affirmed that sickness is not a product of divine plan or punishment. But maybe something good can come out of this dangerous situation. Everything points to that solution being in our hands.
To combat the coronavirus, among other important measures, we must wash our hands constantly. This means that prevention, health, and life are in our hands. The Bible confirms this when two of Moses' fellow soldiers held his hands so that the people could win a battle (Exodus 17:8-12). This implies that helping each other is in our hands. Prevention, health, and life is in our hands when we make use of any possible means, these days with greater emphasis on digital media, to make miracles happen. So did the friends of the man who could not walk, when they opened the roof of a house with their hands, so that their friend would receive healing (Mark 2:1-12). Prevention, health, and life are in our hands when we receive like the blind person and give, as Jesus did, the alert: "go, wash" (John 9:7). The young man in this story showed no resistance. Instead, he responded diligently to the instructions of the one who used his hands to heal him. What if we do the same and respond lovingly to the one who treats us with loving hands?
Let us emulate our Savior because, after all, we did not deserve Jesus to use his loving hands on the cross for us and yet he did. Let us do the same. Let us not respond with awkwardness, nor with resistance. Rather, let us learn to pray with assurance and faith as the psalmist did: " Let the favour of the Lord our God be upon us,and prosper for us the work of our hands—O prosper the work of our hands!" (Psalm 90:17). May our hands confirm that they can also be hands that are dedicated to doing good. May our hands confirm that they are hands like those of Jesus or better yet, that they are the hands of Jesus. Therefore, may our hands confirm that they are also loving hands.
—Rev. Marielis Barreto Hernández
First Presbyterian Church
Aguada, Puerto Rico