The Whole World in His Hands

Today, a grand jury in New York City declined to press charges against a white police officer who applied a choke hold on a black man named Eric Garner, killing him in the process.  Garner had suffered from asthma and this move may have put him over the edge to the point of death.  In the wake of the Michael Brown situation, this only adds another level of frustration for those feeling like they cannot get justice or representation, that the justice system is skewed to protect police departments.

Garner died at the hands of a police officer. Michael Brown, according to a witness, had his hands raised before he was shot. These two ideas catalyzed my thinking tonight behind this post and the importance of what we do with our hands.

The New Testament tells us the story of Jesus. We read of his life, death, and resurrection.  He appears to the disciples and tells Thomas to touch the wounds in his hands so he may believe.  In his life, and his new life, his hands represented the embrace of the divine and the electric moment when Heaven and Earth collide.



Hands can help or hurt, embrace or strike.  Babies rely on the touch of their parents.  Reach out to a child who has suffered abuse and you will get a much different response. A touch can soothe a broken heart and mend a bad day, it can heal a wound and provide strength to fight.

It is time to get hands-on.

We spend way too much time on the sidelines.  I’m guilty of this. It is so much easier to watch and let it pass, to go back to our everyday lives and figure someone else will deal with it. We are content with passivity. We are relaxed in routine. We are settled in our suburban groove of SUVs, PTAs, and trips to the grocery store.

We drift while this world explodes around us.

It is time to have the hard talk, to tell our kids about reality.  It is time to be active and serve to build bridges in the community.  It is time to have a front-line faith. Jesus could have stayed in the temple, made some money, and released some cool worship albums. He chose the other path.

His hands weren’t up, they were nailed to the cross.

We are called to pick up our cross and follow him, or are our hands too full already?


Soundtrack Inspiration:



Can’t we all just get along?

I remember watching the footage of Rodney King getting beaten at the hands of four LAPD officers. I was young enough to know that it was wrong and shocked when the officers were acquitted.  The city of Los Angeles exploded with rioting and violence. King famously quoted the title to this post at a press conference.  It is a valid question

One of my favorite books is The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr. and it is an amazing read.  King had his troubles and his own struggles but he was the man God tabbed at the time to do one of the most important jobs in the history of this country.  He stood in Washington and stated his dream that one day children of all races could play together.  It is a valid dream.


The events happening in suburban St. Louis have captivated the country and the facts of the shooting are disputed between the police and the friend of the victim, Michael Brown. At these moments I always think of my sons. We are still in a world of race relations and power dynamics.  Whatever you believe, me being a white male will get me more readily accepted in certain situations than a younger man or woman of a different race. This is a sad truth.  I pray for my boys and try my best to show them that all people are equal.  The hope lies with their generation. Grace is for everyone. Jesus offered perfect love.  The Cross eliminates power dynamics.

It is the final answer.

There will always be shootings and victims.  There will always be a need for peace. As believers, we must fight for this peace. We must radically love those who live on our block and in our city.   We are called to love those who persecute us. My friends span race, gender, and sexual orientation.  As I watch my sons at the playground, I pray they will be change agents and always hold on to that innocence and that drive to play with another kid because they are there and they want to be friends.

May we all reclaim some of that innocence.