Sitting in my office is my nametag from Vacation Bible School, and one thing that I noticed during last week and all throughout VBS was all of the helping hands. There were hands coming together in order to help in countless ways. I noticed during the week that they were all “open hands.”
There were hands welcoming the children on the first night, and there were hands serving dinner plates. There were hands opening up the Bible and reading stories, and there were hands doing motions, as we sang wonderful songs. There were hands giving directions, and there were handshakes and high-fives all throughout the week. It is difficult to do all of those things with closed hands.
The church does well to have “open hands.” They are the best hands for welcoming and supporting, encouraging and comforting, giving and receiving from one another. They are the hands of Jesus, feeding the five thousand, comforting the sick, welcoming the children, teaching the disciples, and joining in prayer.
The church is called to have “open hands,” whether that is the helping hands of Vacation Bible School or the helping hands of the Community Market. It is more than handshakes or high-fives; it is the connections formed through building community within the church or serving the community around the church.
The church calls us to open our hands to each other as we gather for worship, so we might practice living with “open hands” when we are sent forth. They help us to reach over our divides or to offer help to those who are hurting. They are the type of hands that allow us to carry the love of God with us and to others.
We will see this next week as well when churches throughout the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship gather in Greensboro, North Carolina for their annual meeting. There will be connections made as churches come together around missions and ministry. There will be extended hands, greeting one another and working together.
We continue to see this each Lord’s Day when we gather. We can watch as hands are extended to one another, sharing stories and prayers, joining to worship and serve, building community and serving community, as the church is called to have “open hands,” as the body of Christ.