The Hand of God

By Kenneth Tanner

The hands that crafted humanity from the dust are the hands that grasp Mary’s finger as she looks on her infant God with awe. The divine finger that etched the commandment concerning adultery into the stone on Sinai is the human finger that drew in the sand as the frenzied crowd picked up stones to slay the adulteress. The hand that wrote on the palace wall that Belshazzar, the pagan king, had been weighed in the balance and found wanting is the hand that was nailed to the tree and bled for the failures and imbalances of every human tribe. The fingers that set the moons and stars in the cosmos like a master jeweler, smear mud on the eyes of the blind so that they might once again behold the light of heaven. And even as the cosmos is held in his hands – suspended on his charity, all things set in motion by his energies – his sacred hands are contained and constrained for nine months within the womb of the virgin. The hands that deliver Israel from slavery in Egypt are the hands that offer the paschal cup that promises and will in time deliver the renewal of all things. He opens his sovereign hands and feeds all the woodland, pasture, and desert creatures and his calloused carpenter’s hands take, and bless, and break the bread that grants life without end, the bread of Christ. As the right hand of the Father, Jesus touches lepers, dines with tax collectors, offers living water to the woman whose people are the enemy of his people, and washes the feet of his followers – cleansing everyone he meets, because the Son only ever does what he sees his Father doing – and is the risen, transfigured right hand that rests on the shoulder of John in the apostle’s great vision of the world that is coming to this world, and says to his beloved friend in a still small voice: “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look – I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.”   

Kenneth Tanner is the pastor of Church of the Redeemer in Rochester Hills, Michigan. His writing has appeared in Books & Culture, The Huffington Post, Sojourners, National Review, and Christianity Today.

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