Hands... - Reflection by Dean Sue


Read Dean Sue's reflection for Maundy Thursday, 1 April 2021.

The past year has taught us that the hands of people are important. So many people have lived the past year without the touch of family and friends. I know that I have missed the hand shake, the hug and the physical contact of strangers, friends and family.

Michael Rosen, Children’s author and poet wrote a poem about hands to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the NHS titled, ‘These are the Hands,’

These are the hands

That touch us first

Feel your head

Find the pulse

And make your bed.


These are the hands…

and so the poem goes on as we hear how the doctors and nurses care for us.

The hands of those in the caring professions have become so important in the last year.

Today, as we begin the three most important days in the life of the church hands will pay a significant part in the last days of the life of Jesus.

On this Maundy Thursday we will see and reflect on Jesus’ hands as he washed the disciples’ feet and as he gave the instruction, to wash one another’s feet.

So if I your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. (John 13:14)

On this Maundy Thursday we also reflect on the hands of Jesus as he blesses the bread and wine at the last supper:

While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them and said, ‘This is my body.’ Then he took the cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, ‘This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many.’ (Mark, 14: 22-24)

On Good Friday we see others using their hands, not in service and care of others, but in cruelty and ultimately death. Pilate in the Gospel of Matthew washes his hands as a symbolic gesture that he was innocent of Jesus’ death.

So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.’

On Good Friday we see the hands of the Roman soldiers nail Jesus’ hands to the cross, those compassionate hands of Jesus that had shown love and care to all so cruelly impaled.

But the story does not end there, on the cross.

Easter Day, the day of resurrection will reveal the hands of Jesus as caring and loving hands once more as Jesus stands and offers his scarred hands as testimony to his resurrection, to a doubting Thomas.

Hands are important in our Holy Week and Easter Story, but hands are also important for our Covid world. Hands show us how we love, care and serve others. As Jesus revealed himself and God to those first disciples through the work of his hands, God is revealed to us through the care love and service of all those who have supported us through the past year with their hands.

These are the hands…

Dean Sue

While you're here:
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