“Open doors. Open hearts. Open minds.”
United Methodists have joined people of faith in extending an unconditional invitation of God’s love in Jesus Christ. To this familiar invitation, “open, and clean hands” could be rightfully added.
And, as the COVID-19 pandemic leads all people to emphasize “open, clean hands,” a number of Bible verses come to mind as Americans — joining with the world — search to find wisdom and direction at this particularly and profoundly upsetting and frightening time.
From Job 17:9, “The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger.”
Psalm 24:4 further instructs, “He hath clean hands and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul into vanity nor sworn deceitfully.”
David’s final blessing over his kingdom’s inhabitants, such as we find in 1 Chronicles 29:12-14, still blesses and comforts. “Both riches and honor come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might, and in thy hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? For all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.”
“Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord,” Jeremiah 23:23 declares, “and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord.”
A global pandemic, a national declaration, a local health emergency? God’s got this. … God’s got everything! “Thus saith the Lord of hosts.” In Zachariah 8:9, “Let your hands be strong, ye that hear in these days these words by the mouth of prophets.”
Open doors … open hearts… and folded hands!
The Rev. Nathan M. Ware is pastor of Depews Chapel United Methodist Church in Kingsport.