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Posts Tagged ‘Ecc 9:10’

handsrobotics“Bless us, oh Lord, and these thy gifts
For which we’re about to receive . . . Amen”

Every night since I remember sitting at the dinner table, those words blessed our supper – grandmother’s fried chicken or taco chicken casserole – or maybe a Friday night steak or some baby beef liver, mama’s mashed potatoes and gravy – she could make a gravy for anything, or Aunt Joyce’s salad dressing.

When I married, and our son was born, the words to the blessing changed.

“For what we’re about to receive,
May the Lord make us truly thankful”

I think I lifted it from The Sound of Music – but the words seemed right at home at my table.

For a few years, my first-born added the words, at every meal, no matter who was there, “and Jesus, send me a baby brother.”

A few years later, and quite a few baby brothers later, the second son, he would take over the dinner prayer, beaming in the spotlight – praying long and creatively over dinner.

As each boy entered into the teen years – the man growing years, they retreated from the spotlight, grateful for a daddy who led the prayer.

One dinner, a while back, maybe it was Thanksgiving at my aunts –my husband sat at the head of the table, started the prayer, looked at me, and smiling, I held up my hands, wiggled my fingers,
And he prayed,

“For what we’re about to receive
May the Lord make us truly thankful.
Thank you for being a God of second chances
And bless the hands that prepared dinner.”

When all of us gather for Big Dinner – that’s when I cook big, the table setting has the good stuff, the glasses all match, maybe the leaf placemates are out– and all the boys, my daughter-in-law, my DIL-to-be and sweet little Ava Grace come – we circle round in the kitchen, heads bow – and if anyone’s stolen a bite – they stop in the midst of getting rid of the evidence – quiet their hands, feet and mouths –

. . . and thank God for the blessings.

My husband  smiles up at me at the end, as he asks God to bless the hands they prepared the meal.

(This is where I’m supposed to stop – the 5 minute mark – but we all know I can’t!)

The other night, though, one of the boys to men the biggest brother of them all prayed for so long ago- he led the dinner prayer . At the end, he did something none of the brothers have done before: he blessed the hands that prepared the dinner.

My heart just melted into a thank you prayer, not a preening prayer – but a thank you of the glimpse God gave me of something carefully planted in these boyd-to-men hearts that sometimes grow knots that take a prayer-journey time to untangle.
hands

Bless the hands Father – not for big and little dinners.

not just the cucumber carver’s hands or the dish-washing hands – but bless the hands holding onto little ones learning to walk, that move over key-boards filing reports of work accomplished, goals met, money spent and saved that keep other hands productive, able to provide homes, transportation, 3 square meals a day, warmth in the winter, blankets to wrap in.

Bless the hands, Father, that lift each other up when another falls down,
hands holding hands crossing to the other side,
Hands that wipe tears, and pull into hugs.

Hands that gently, firmly correct behavior, alphabet letters, and open red, yellow, blue and green paint bottles for finger swirls.

Bless the hands that drop plates, misplace keys, iron imperfectly

Hands that turn pages, tuck blankets, wipe down counters, fold laundry, push lawn mowers, weed-eat

Hands new to a steering wheel, that hide yawns and laughter, pour milk, make coffee, careful enough to erase math mistakes for correct answers

Bless the hands that reach to family,
pick up turtles
Hands that reach to community
catch hopping frogs
Hands reaching to a world uncomfortable, unfamiliar
trying to feed a baby bird lost from its nest

Bless the hands Father of each of us, in all that we turn them to – big and little things, little and big – that it might give glory to you!

Let the work of our hands worship you.

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Ecc 9:10a)
And do it with all your heart – as though doing it for God (Col 3:23)

babybird

Pull up a chair, settle in have a cup of Key Lime Ginger tea with a spoonful of honey and head over to Lisa-Jo’s and share your own post on the word. . . Hands . . on this not-yet-raining  Five-Minute Friday. Find out what other hands had to write.

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The blessing of hands, holding brooms, hoes, planting, emptying bags of dirt, tying knots for a hammock under a tree, slicing lemons, brushing damp hair on a tired head.

“Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well” (Ecc. 11:6)

“I want to choose,” my littlest said. “I should be able to choose if I want to work.” He said this after being given the chore of washing his dad’s car. One brother was given the chore of cleaning the garage. A third helped with completing the raised garden – that one require much muscle.

The littlest guy, he was voluntarily helping me make desserts and lemonade, having finished washing the car. As he stood at the counter, his still-little-boy hands slicing lemons and oranges we talked of big and little things.

“It’s our job to teach you how to work. Right now you don’t always have choices because we have to prepare you to be fit for usefulness in your future job,” I explained, pulling from Webster’s 1828 definition of Education (1828 Noah Webster Dictionary)

“I think I should have a choice,” he said, pushed the topic cheekily. I sighed. This desire for independence bursts out early in these boys, this desire to be in charge of their destiny.

I mentioned Jonah – and what happened to him when he tried to avoid a job he didn’t like. Jonah didn’t want that job, but God wanted Jonah to do that job.

Somehow, my little lemon slicer grabbed the story line and took off. When I tried to join in, he said, “This is my story, mom.”

We worked together, while he told me about Jonah trying to sneak away from what God wanted him to do, getting thrown into the sea by his sea-faring peers, being swallowed and eventually, when he agreed to do the job God wanted him to do, being thrown up.

“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones” (Luke 16:10) kept whispering its way through my mind – but how do you persuade a little boy that if he does his chores really well, he will be given bigger chores? When bigger and better do really equate in terms of job size? At least in an 11 year old’s world.

My hands stirring Swiss Chard, Feta Cheese, onions and garlic. My husband’s hands cutting out heart-shaped beignets(French donuts) to deep fry for family brunch.

My hands stirring blackberry sauce, shaping scones. His hands wiping up the kitchen with me – as we prepare for family gathering.

Our hands working together, praying together in the twilight where we stood under the Oak, hands held, praying for doors to open, for revelation, for guidance – we stood there believing for His plan.

“From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him” (Proverbs 12:14)

Hands playing with sweet grandbaby girl’s feet, – and came the story, with baby feet bicycling and my hands, a grandmother’s hands playing

“Let’s go on a bicycle trip, you and I
A bicycle trip down a country road,
. . . a story was born.
“And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them” (Mark 10:16)

The blessing of the hands. Simple, everyday living, turning my hands to the work, to the living God has given me. Some days, my hands bless. Some days they fall short.

My hands, though, they don’t reach their potential.

Jesus laid hands on the leper
And he was cleansed (Matt 8:2-4)

Jesus laid hands on an infirm, bowed-over woman
And she was made straight (Luke 13:13)

Jesus laid hands on the blind man,
And the blind man saw (Mark 8:23)

“When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them” (Luke 4:40)
Oh, yes, the work of my hands fall short of what God enabled them to do. They can only do jobs the size of my faith. I pray that my faith grow, that God-in-Me work its way out through my hands to touch lives in the way God made me to touch lives. If he has called the heart of these hands to heal, to cleanse, to make straight, to open eyes for truth – all physically and spiritually, I pray that whatever binds them from being what He empowered them to do is loosened.

For now, the blessing of my hands comes from the cutting of the chard, the playing with baby feet, the tending of my garden, and the laying on of hands in a call to prayer.

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might,” (Ecc. 9:10)

455-465 blessings listed above
466) a 7 a.m. Saturday morning date to watch squirrels
467) orange carrots, fresh chard, tomatoes and delicious-smelling onions at the Farmer’s Market
468) in my hammock, looking up through the trees, looking at all the “Y”s – thanks to Jennifer at Getting Down with Jesus, I saw Yahweh everywhere! It makes sense that the trees praise Yahweh when every branch is laden with reminders of Yahweh!
469) spotting my teen in the hammock on a Holiday afternoon
470) The teen, swinging in the hammock now a senior
471) a pontoon ride, on a lake, reminding me, all that water, of the Holy Spirit
472) For sweet friends, breaking bread over lunch.
473) my oldest son, at the family gathering, loving my Swiss Chard dish
474) Empty plates once filled with scones, beignets, chard, asperagus with Hollandaise sauce
475) My raised garden bed, built by my husband filled with plants, seeds, hope and faith
476) babygirl falling asleep in the shawl I knit, that matched her outfit
477) this job that I go to from 8 to 4:30, some days from 6 or 7 a.m. to 4:30 to catch up, that has helped me use my time more richly
478) Hope in the sun creeping through my window sill every morning!
479) Green buddings on our transplanted hydrangea!

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