Sunday, January 27, 2008

Into your hands I commend my spirit - 2006 Good Friday Reflection

Into your hands I commend my spirit

Good Friday Reflection – Peter Carey – 14 April 2006

Gesturing to the fishermen, He called them
To set down their nets and become fishers of people.
His hands gave healing to the sick and the unclean
The spirit of healing flowed from his hands
He laid his hands on each of them and cured them
He laid his hands on one, and immediately she stood up straight and began praising God.
Water became wine and a few loaves and fishes became a feast.


He predicted he would end up betrayed into human hands
But he continued to heal and to teach parables of the kingdom
The powers wanted to lay hands on him at that very hour, but they feared the people.


Though they tried, they did not lay hands upon him when he was a babe
They did not lay hands upon him in the temple
They did not lay hands upon him on the plain
They did not lay hands upon him when he healed
They did not lay hands upon him when he cleaned the temple
And he saw that they did not lay hands upon him
Day after day in the temple, they did not lay hands on him.
But this is their hour, and the power of darkness
Brought their hands upon him.


The journey he has made into the world from God
is nearly done,
but his work and his life will endure in a new way.


His work of healing,
of teaching,
of preaching,
of walking the way of God in the world.
Welcoming the outcast,
visiting the lonely,
the sick
those in prison,
healing those in turmoil,
liberating the oppressed.
He walked with them,
healed them
and offered hope.
But his work and his life will endure in a new way.


His life is gift,
God’s gift to God’s creation.
Ours, too are pure gift,
We are brought into the world
and are held in loving hands as infants,
hands of our parents,
hands of our guardians,
hands of the ones who baptize us,
the hands of our siblings,
and the hands of our teachers, priests and the hands of our friends.


We lay our hands upon others in healing,
we hold the hurt of others as we offer our open hands up in prayer,
we hold up our hands to receive the Eucharistic Feast.
We offer up our hands as we commend our lives to God’s service.
From your hands we have received our lives,
Into your hands we commend our lives and our spirit.

Their hands held him,
Their hands nailed his hands to the cross.
In the moment that worldly hands bound him
He offered no curse
No condemnation
But the gift of radical forgiveness
He saw the hands that would bring him home,
The hands that had supported him all along,
The hands that had held him up in the temple,
The hands that supported him in the wilderness,
The hands that had offered direction and comfort.


In that moment that the hands of the world bound him,
He commended his spirit to the hands that endure,
When he might have cried out in anger or fear
Jesus offered a prayer from the Psalms,
“Into your hands I commend my spirit”

No longer bound by the hands of his captors,
No longer bound by his hand to the cross,
Jesus makes his own funeral commendation.
This cry is no cry of loneliness
of dereliction,
but is a prayer and a deep hope.
He seeks out the hands of his father, from whose hands he became incarnate
The hands that hold the entire world, and caress us as newborn children.




In that moment of cosmic loneliness,
He felt God’s hands reaching to him,
He saw the hands of his Father,
his Abba,
caressing him
offering love,
"Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”
In the moment when the hands of the world betrayed him
a prayer.
Calling out into the darkness
But, in hope and love,
God would hear him and hold him
Not a distant deity without care or concern
But a compassionate and loving God
He trusted the loving hands of his Father
He trusted those hands that had held him from the beginning
And were there all along
Holding him, supporting him, and guiding him.


His life is gift,
God’s gift to God’s creation.
Darkness came over the whole land,
The sun’s light failed,
The curtain of the temple was torn in two,
Crying with a loud voice,

“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”



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