Hands Reaching Out

Hands…five fingers, one thumb, skin, bones and muscles. From birth to old age they are clapping, waving, rubbing, and washing.

Hands are a gift from God for sure. They can perform many tasks throughout the day. I am sure I often take my hands for granted.

Hands can be soft as a baby’s bottom or as rough as sandpaper. They can be gentle or firm. They can used to express love but unfortunately can be used to inflict pain or harm.

They come in many different colors and sizes. Brown, tan, black, white and any color in between but almost always the hand’s palm is a soft pink, the tender blush of an early, morning sunrise.

I am honored and blessed to be able to serve as an Exordinary Minister of Holy Communion. I see many hands eagerly reaching out to receive the body of Christ. I am always in awe of the sacredness of these hands.


Hands are often the calling card of their owner’s profession. I can tell the farmer’s hands are large, muscular and suntanned. The carpenter often has a nick here or there on the knuckles. The nurse has hands that are clean, short nails, a dryness from all their washing. The mechanic’s hands are tough, strong with oil in each of the lines forming the fingerprints. The anesthesiologist’s hands are clean, soft and patience. The young child’s hands are eager and often have a finger or two wrapped with a Band-aid.

But there is one thing all these hands have in common, and that is the eagerness, sincerity and holiness when they receive Christ into their midst.

From young, new hands to the person receiving for decades, they are all the same receiving Holy Communion. The young may be nervous while in line but when it is their turn, I witness a smile and calmness comes over them when Holy Communion is placed in their hand. The elderly approach slowly with trembling, arthritic fingers. When the body of Christ is placed in their palm, they put their hand up to their mouth and after consuming their Master. They walk with a weigh lifted from their shoulders. Even if it is visible for only a moment but their spirit is lifted high.

The ministering at a local health care facility and nursing home is always a humbling experience. From the residences who come to the chapel to experience the Word Service to those who remain in their room, they eagerly accept Christ in their hand. Once, I brought Holy Communion to a lady who was in the final stages of Alzheimer’s disease. She will never know who I was, but she did know who I brought to her. I said, “her name, The Body of Christ.” Her eyes opened brightly and she said, “Amen!” I just had to smile to myself. I knew soon she would be saying, “Amen!” in the very face of her Savior.

The hand expresses what the heart already knows. Samuel Mockbee


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