In 1980 I went, for the first time, to see the Passion Play at Oberammergau. I knew that there would be wood carvings there and I had saved up to buy a nativity set. I was about to pay for the one I had chosen when I saw a woodcarving of a child resting in a hand. In an instant I changed my mind and bought the hand and child. The hand is life size and so tactile. When you hold it your own hand fits around it and like holding a “holding cross” there is something very comforting about the warmth and feel of wood held in the hand.
When I was accepted to train as a deaconess, at one of the student conferences we were invited to take something that spoke of our relationship with God. I took my hand carving and spoke of being held in God’s love. But one of my fellow students pointed out that this was not a passive holding, the child is also holding on too. What a wonderful reminder that we can have such a close relationship with our heavenly Father! The idea that the God of all creation can be held is incredible, yet in the Emmaus Road account we read that when they reached home, Jesus made to go on but they detained him and invited him in and then they were able to recognise him in the breaking of the bread. Jesus was also detained in the account of the woman who touched the hem of his robe, and through it she received healing and wholeness.
When did you last detain God? Inviting him in or touching the hem of his robe for healing? And when will you next reach out?
Being held may not take away the hurt or pain or make a difficult situation go away, but being held and holding on provides comfort in the sharing and gives us the knowledge we are not alone and on our own, and as you reach out to touch may you realise that he was there all the time and you just were not aware of it.
Still my mind Encircle me, O God,
Still my body Hold me
Still my thoughts Love me
So that I may rest in You, O God, Open me, heart and mind
And spend time with You. So that I may meet with You. Amen
Prayers for July by Denise Creed
Photo: Held by God