This isn’t a childhood picture of me, but at times I look like this little girl, because from a young age, I have rubbed my hands together briskly when I’m excited or getting ready to do something new or interesting. My 60th birthday tomorrow. Starting a new interim ministry next week. It’s possible that I picked up this habit from my father, but now it’s all mine, and it has even come to carry theological meaning.
You see, during my years of ministry, my hand habit expanded. When I work on the sermon, for example, and I sense the message coming together, I spontaneously rub my hands. It has become a reliable sign of the movement of the Holy Spirit. Whenever I perceive that God is up to something and I’m participating in it, well, it’s a personal, down to earth eschatological moment (see my last blog post).
In this same vein, I recall a friend’s story. Jim is a seasoned educator, and at one time, he was in charge of the media resources for his elementary school. There was a student there – we’ll call him Mark – who didn’t fit in too well with his classmates or in the structure of the traditional classroom. Teachers were having trouble with him, and Jim offered to try to relate to him, enlisting him as his student assistant. The two would travel from class to class, meeting their audiovisual needs, and Mark flourished in this learning environment. Every morning he’d come to school early, find Jim, and, probably rubbing his hands together, ask: “What are we going to do today, Jim, what are we going to do today?”
It occurs to me that if we believe in a living, loving, leading God, every day will be new and full of potential, Jesus Christ will be the good teacher, and the Holy Spirit will be flowing through the channels in and between us, just waiting to be noticed. What would it be like to have such faith? To live like this? I imagine it would be an adventure, one of putting our hands together in expectation, asking: “What are we going to do today, God, what are we going to do today?”