Brian and I spent this past weekend at Big Canoe, a small resort in Jasper, Georgia. My father-in-law invited the entire family up for a long weekend of relaxation and togetherness. After days of playing cards, bocce ball, eating well and good times…Sunday was upon us. Luckily, before we were to depart, we had the added joy of attending the Big Canoe Church.
Perhaps, it should be said that our mere presence in the sanctuary brought the average age down by forty years. When I say that it was a senior service, there were very few exceptions. We sang from hymnals, had soloists from the choir and passed offering bowls made from pure mahogany.
Apparently, as tradition would be for this small church, everyone was to hold hands during prayer. I’m not going to lie, the prayer lasted for quite a long time, and at some point, out of curiosity, I did open my eyes. Sadly, there was a man about three pews up that caught my stare. This man, the sole occupant of his row, had no hands to hold. He was sitting still, head bowed, but hands completely to himself.
“God stands up for his people, God holds the hands of his people.” – The Message
I don’t have a great message that follows this posting. I don’t really have anything else to say about it, unfortunately. All I do know, is that it is nine hours after the church service and this solitary believer – with his open hand - is still on my mind. This single man, with no hand to hold, cannot escape my memory.
I suppose that I should find in this a lesson of thanksgiving. Appreciation that my hands were completely occupied on both sides. Grateful that not only my pew, but also the one in front of mine, were filled with people who care about me.
But perhaps, this time, a single open hand was a more significant message than a pew full of friends.