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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Bookends (01/30/14)

TITLE: Holy Hands
By Fiona Stevenson
02/04/14


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They stand on the corners of the mantelpiece, ignored by the books snugly encased in the shelves on either side of the fireplace. Lovingly carved in mottled green soapstone they echo Albrecht Durer’s famous painting. They take the eye of every person coming into the room. Many hands have tried their weight; fingers traced the lines etched in the oily smoothness of the stone. Sometimes a comment is made regarding their value. Less frequently the question is asked, “What are they worth?”

This is not a question that has concerned Tom or Florence. The book ends were a gift from an artist friend and their value is tied in with their remembrance of his treasured friendship. The hands on the mantelpiece remind them of his hands: long thin hands with spatulate fingertips, nervously busy except when they were clasped in prayer.

Now they serve as a memorial of time shared growing individually; time shared growing a church in a small community. These were days of song and sermon; fellowship and fun. They were interspersed with cloudy days of tears and difficult decisions when prayers of praise melded into prayers of intercession and submission.

War interrupted the lives of the community. Physical barriers were built to protect lonely farmsteads. Emotional barriers were broken down when families lost son or father in the battle. Spiritual barriers of prayer linked Christian to Christian in the communities throughout the land. The quietness of the soapstone hands remembered the tears and the laughter, the losses and the gains.

Florence paused while rubbing her duster across the mantelpiece, lifting items and replacing them. She lifted the first of the bookends. She recalled Paul’s injunction to Timothy: “I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” Holy hands, hands stilled in prayer, hands devoted to God. She stood with her hands clasped around the soapstone hands, finger imposed upon finger.

Memory mused among remembered prayers. She found herself repeating her many thanksgivings; backing up a current prayer with an answered prayer; encouraging and consolidating her faith; faith that is built on the fact that God is, and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.

God is with us in the everyday tasks of our lives: Jesus promised to send His Holy Spirit to be our constant companion, our Comforter, our Helper, to guide us into all truth, to show us things to come, and to glorify Christ through us. In days of decision, times of trial and hours of happiness He is right here with us, helping us, comforting us and working the will of God in our lives. Our part is to lift holy hands in prayer, without wrath or doubting, until travail becomes triumph, and triumph engenders thanksgiving. In this our Lord is glorified.

Scriptures: 1 Timothy 2:9; Hebrews 11:6 and John 15:26; 16:13.


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This article has been read 76 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Linda Goergen02/08/14
I loved this—the praying hands having so much meaning and message. I used to have a praying hands bronze statue, but something happened to it and over the years I can’t remember what. I used to keep mine on a bookshelf too and I miss it. This was a blessing to read. Great job.
Beth LaBuff 02/11/14
You have a comforting beautiful message within this family's story. I love the way you wove that.
Linda Goergen02/13/14
Congratulations Fiona on your well deserved EC win!
CD Swanson 02/13/14
Congratulations!

God bless~