Presence 2: Arts That Inspire Reflection & Prayer

Day 1 of 5 • This day’s reading


The Hands Of God

I’m looking at my hands,

Holding them up to my face.

I smell them,

Taste them,

Rub them against my cheek.

I know these hands better than anyone,

Yet I scarcely know them at all.

On the ends of my arms

Are the hands of God.


If I were you, God,

I’d change the world,

Fill empty bellies,

Heal broken bodies,

Balance the imbalanced,

Find the lost,

Trip up the powerful,

Brighten the miserable,

Enlighten the confused.


People wonder, you know,

Why you don’t release the hostages,

Quiten the gunfire,

Stop the bombs, 

Why you don’t get politicized,

Why you don’t prick the consciences

Of those holding prisoners of conscience,

Why you don't topple fascist regimes,

Make everyone vegetarian,

Stop motorways erasing forests,

Fridges erasing ozone,

Why you don’t end racism, sexism, ageism, sizeism,

… atheism, obviously.


If I were you, God,

I wouldn’t have done things your way,

Opening your hands wide for this world

Only for us to split them wider,

Seeing we could do with a hand

And giving us both.

There’s your spirit, of course,

Still moving over the face of the deep

And the shallow

And there’s us.

(This I would have done differently.)

We are your hands now

And we no longer nail them,

We just tie them tight,

Knotted with a million excuses.


If I were you

i’d move that spirit on us,

Change us from cynical to hopeful,

Cold to warm,

Indifferent to motivated,

Change us into people like Jesus

Uncurling our frozen fists,

Spreading hands wide

Despite the hammer’s risk.


I suppose your way has worked,

You have changed the world,

But it’s still hard to imagine 

A place called future

Where dying is history,

Where the present can be seen in context,

Where the random

And the chance

And the meaningless

Are pieces you have fitted in a

Transcendental jigsaw,

Where tearducts are only used with laughter

Where your hands are indistinguishable

From our hands.


Look at your hands.

Hold them up to your face,

Smell them,

Taste them, rub them against your cheek.

You know them better than anyone,

Yet you scarcely know them at all.

On the ends of your arms

Are the hands of God.

Written By Martin Wroe

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