I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirst for you like a parched land. – Psalm 143: 6
I worship at a church where people do this. They stretch out their hands to God as they sing, as they pray. Not everybody. Not all the time. But many do.
I didn’t grow up with that. It hasn’t been something people did in other churches of which I’ve been a part. We stood or sat and kept our hands to ourselves. So, I’m a tentative hand-stretcher.
I feel pretty self-conscious when I try it. I feel sort of foolish.
But then, in a society (and sometimes in churches) where we are often encouraged to appear in complete control and on top of everything, admitting that our souls are parched and that we thirst for God, for a Higher Power, for Holiness, for Jesus, may be considered foolish.
Stretching out my hands to God is a confession of sorts. I need help. I need God. I cannot deliver myself.
Admitting that can be embarrassing. But also freeing. Wonderfully freeing.
Human nature. It needs a Deliverer, a Savior. We have one. One who can do in us and through us what we cannot do for ourselves.
“Help of the helpless, O abide with me.” (Henry F. Lyte, “Abide with Me”)
Tony Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher, and writer. His newest book, Useful Wisdom: Letter to Young (and Not So Young) Ministers will be published early next year by Wipf and Stock. You can read and sign up for his blog at www.anthonybrobinson.com.