Hands on the rail (Part two)

I promised myself, see original post after hearing a priest talk about the hands that are open the communion rail, that I would reflect on this whilst distributing the sacrament.

I did this a few weeks ago and was quite surprised by the results.  Not that I should have been really… It only really works if you know the people in your congregation!

This is what I came up with, albeit after the event, trying to remember what I had thought at the time.

The hands that come to the rail, Anoint, Bless and Baptize.  Hands that have crafted wood, been creative, have the Care of children.  Hands that can Comfort, Cook, Clean, Caress, Console, Cling and Carry.  Hands that Dig, Drive, Dress, Feed, Grab, Heal, Hold, Mend and Nurture.  Hands that have Picked up, Prepared and Planted, Played and Polished.  Hands that Repair, Support, Serve, Sew, Shield and Shelter.  Hands that Type and Talk, Write, Wash and Wipe.  Hands that are Young, Old, Clean, Dirty, Lined, Smooth, gnarled, Missing fingers, Cracked, Well manicured, Cold, have Bad circulation.

All the hands that come to the rail to receive have spent at least part of their life offering skills, time and talents for the benefit of others.  Here they are come to receive a simple blessing from God when all the while they have been blessing the world in their own way.

Hands on the rail

Today was the first day of the new term. Along with the hour and a half Methodist covenant service which normally accompanies the beginning of the spring term, there was a really good insightful sermon by the newly licensed member of staff, ending with the words from the Iona community’s morning prayer:

‘We will not offer to god, offerings that cost us nothing.’

However, it was not that, that struck me the most today.

Whilst on the rural ministry project, one of the incumbents said that during the distribution of communion he rarely met peoples eyes, but looked at their hands. Far from the thoughts of not dropping the host, he was concerned with the story the hands of those at the communion rail told

I suspect ours today, mine included, would be a little too well manicured and clean to be at home in many churches he ministered to.

Perhaps though, it is the clean and well manicured hands that are the dirtiest of all.