This past week, my hands and feet have been through a lot.
My hands have folded towels and curtains at Bed Bath and Beyond and made sandwiches in freaky fast fashion at Jimmy John’s. They have played games of Mancala with my Little, mopped and swept and cleaned more times than they preferred at work, dialed numbers and texted a thousand messages. They have typed stories and weekly plans, written dreams and concerns, scrolled aimlessly through Facebook and funny websites, and brushed my hair and teeth every day. Last Tuesday my left hand was pricked in the vein for a blood test, and the impact was so “intense” that I fainted from it (and ended up injuring my ankle in the process). My hands have clenched in fear and anxiety and relaxed after taking deep breaths and putting my feet up. They have clapped for Bryce at his concert and held his hand and scratched his back at worship service. And last Friday, they, along with the hands of my dear roommate Sarah, prepared 50 sandwiches for 50 people in under an hour. That Friday, they collected permission forms, held the hands of my precious girls, gave high fives when strikes were bowled at the bowling alley, and attempted to rip the hair from my head when I internally screamed at myself for being crazy enough to take a group of 20 wild girls bowling for the evening.
My feet had a busy time, too. They ran six and a half miles and walked countless more, through work shifts and meetings and Farmer’s Markets and multiple errands. My ankle was bruised and strained after I fainted, and the soles of my feet were badly blistered from a 3.5 mile run in bad running shoes. They hurried and scurried and tripped over themselves. They stayed in flip flops as often as possible, even when I went bowling. They moved me to and from customers, friends, workplaces, and worship setup.
And a few times this week, my hands and feet interacted together. My hands iced my sore ankle. My fingers tended to my blisters. The punctured vein in my left hand caused the fainting episode that resulted in the injured ankle in the first place.
My hands and feet are so active, and it took this past Sunday’s sermon to realize this.
In church, we talk about being Jesus’ hands and feet. When Jesus reappeared to his disciples after his death and resurrection, he told them to notice him by his hands and feet. Imagine seeing the hands they knew so well, that had healed and touched the outcast, that had been blistered by walking so many miles to be with so many people. Imagine the impact Jesus’ hands and feet had on his disciples when they finally saw him again. Imagine the impact our hands and feet have on those around us.
Imagine if we used these already active hands and feet of ours to leave this impact on the world around us.
Imagine if we realized what our hands and feet have the potential to do, what they have already done.
Because our hands can heal, and they can bruise. They can extend comfort, and they can push away. They can hold, and they can break.
Our feet can run towards something horrible, and run away from something beautiful. They can lead us towards life or destruction, hope or pain, love or hate. They can follow, lead, abandon, and get stuck.
Our hands and feet can be physical weapons, and they can also be used to heal bodies and hearts and minds and souls.
Jesus’ followers recognized him because of his hands and feet. Not his eyes. Not his hair. Not his nose. Not, as our pastor Amanda even mentioned, his birthmark. His hands and feet, what we are supposed to be until he comes again and even beyond, defined him in such a way that his disciples knew who he was because of them.
If we asked those who know us most what they see in our hands and feet, what would they say? When we look at our own hands and feet, what stories do we see?
Would they see life, or pain? Love, or hate? Peace, or violence?
What will your hands and feet do? What will they do today, tomorrow, and all the time that is yet to come?