Daily Bread Jan. 2

Trust the Hands of Peace
By Kathy Jones of Kendrick, ID, USA

Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace— in peace because they trust in you.  —Isaiah 26:3 NRSV

Several years ago, I was shopping in a large mall in Portland, Oregon. Suddenly I felt a small hand slip into mine and looking down, I saw a little girl about 5 years old. She had a worried look and said, “I can’t find my mommy; do you see her?” I tightened my grip on her small hand and reassured her we would look together.

We retraced her steps to a department store, and in the entrance I saw a worried young woman frantically looking in all directions. The little girl saw her and ran until her mother enveloped her in her arms. Thinking about this later, I wondered why she chose me to ask for help. What made her trust me, a stranger, enough to put her hand in mine?

My 12-year-old granddaughter and I were making brownies. She grabbed the vanilla bottle with flour on her hands and finished the recipe. As I put the vanilla back in the cupboard, I noticed her flour fingerprints on the bottle. I left the vanilla on the shelf, fingerprints and all. Two weeks have passed, and every time I open my spice cabinet I see those fingerprints and remember the good time we had baking together.

What do hands share? It causes me to reflect and question, “What do my hands stand for? Will anyone remember them?” We can all ask ourselves the same question. Do our hands wipe the tears from a friend’s face? Or text words of encouragement? Or join other hands in support of peace and justice? Or hold another’s hand while they wait for a life-changing event?

The most expressive hands were those of Jesus Christ. Blessing children, healing, breaking bread, calming the sea, writing in the sand, hands nailed to a cross. The hands of Jesus symbolize kindness, strength, forgiveness, and compassion. Can our hands be any less? Take a close look at your hands. It doesn’t matter if they are young or old. The actions of your hands express your heart. Be the hands of Jesus.

Prayer for Peace

Compassionate God, help us be the hands of Jesus. Help us imprint his peace in the world.

Spiritual Practice: Embodying God’s Shalom

Find a way to express and embody God’s shalom. Begin by prayerfully listening to your longing for peace. Become silent and imagine you can hear the groaning of the Earth’s people, nations, and creatures. Prayerfully open yourself to God’s yearning for peace and the divine vision of shalom.

Peace Covenant

Today, God, I will extend my hand as an invitation to peace.

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