Shaking Hands

Hi everyone,
This is a poem I’ve shared before. It was inspired by a Maundy Thursday service at my church one year. Maundy Thursday is the night that Jesus held the first Communion, and it was also the night he was betrayed and taken away for trial and, later, death on the cross.
The service was a wonderful time for reflection on the night Jesus made a new covenant and a deep, everlasting promise to us—that He would sacrifice all to save us for love. This poem reflects on the communion we had at church that night, where members of the church acted out the roles of the disciples and Jesus at the Last Supper.
God bless!


“Shaking Hands”
hours before You will
    be cut off
brutally from breathing in 
   and out,
You sit at the head 
of a table surrounded by friends,
   a seed of darkness tucked 
      inside one of their hearts.
hours before the ultimate
   test, moment, fear,
You lift bread and wine.
i watch this moment
   reenacted in a church service
tonight. my eyes fix themselves
on the man blessing the wine
   and cup, playing Your role.
his hands shake as
  he pours the wine from pitcher
    to cup. two thousand years ago
did Your hands shake? did You
  struggle to swallow with a dry 
     mouth? take a deep breath
before You turned to Judas 
  and told him to do what he must?
before You beckoned the storm
    to come? 
as this last meal is served 
   for us this night, i watch not
the faces, but the hands 
    of the men and women acting
       as the twelve, the hands
    of the children and elders
college- and middle-aged 
coming to reach out for that
    taste of mercy.
i see dry hands, wrinkled hands, 
   big, small, young, old 
hands curled with arthritis, 
    black, white, brown, red, yellow
willing hands, reluctant hands, curious hands,
    and above all linked and growing hands—
whether those hands be growing
   older and wiser or tougher and rougher,
  more gentler or more soft,
these are hands that change, 
   hands that reach, teach, create
       and hold on.
if Your hands shook, then all the more
   do ours, and i know all the more
You still them, grasp them,
   place the bread of grace
      and courage and hope
into our many palms,
         take and eat,
      take and drink,
          live and be
            children of this table,
                   of my heart.  

Creative Commons License
Shaking Hands by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Duncan
    Mar 22, 2013 @ 09:04:00

    Very nice poem. I like the blending of the two events.


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