How do you
- define the â€œhandsâ€ of the Christian faith?
- understand the â€œhandsâ€ working in relationship to the â€œheadâ€ & the “heart” in oneâ€™s Christian faith?
Definition of the â€œhandsâ€
- Embodied faith completes the strong faith of head and heart.
- The â€œhandsâ€ of our faith are all the members of our body including our tongues.
- The works of our faith are demonstrated through proclamation and presence.
- The physical body is good in Godâ€™s eyes and an integral part of who we are.
- The body â€“ in male and female form â€“ was declared very good at creation.
- The Word became flesh, i.e., the incarnation of Christ.
- The resurrection of the bodies â€“ our future.
- Sin keeps our bodies from their created purpose. Sin, absent Godâ€™s redeeming work within us, weighs each us of us down:
Psalm 38: 1-5: LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. Your arrows have pierced me, and your hand has come down on me. Because of your wrath there is no health in my body; there is no soundness in my bones because of my sin. My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly.
- God calls us to obedience in Him as part of His redemptive work:
Romans 6:11-14: In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
- Our society sees each of us as master of our own body â€” this is why and how abortion is justified in our culture. Ethics are driven not by truth, but by what feels good or provides the most perceived benefit to ourselves, our families and our friends.
- How have you seen the “hands of faith” play out in your life, family, community, campus, field?
Christian Presence and Proclamation
- Christ presented parables that spoke of Christians as salt, light, and leaven. We season our world, illuminate the good and evil in it and â€œwork throughout itâ€ to impact it for the Kingdom of God.
- Christ gave explicit instructions to his disciples to â€œgo and make disciples of all nationsâ€ (Matthew 28:19) and to be â€œhis witnessesâ€ (Acts 1:8). What does this look like in your life, family, community, campus, field?
- What we do â€“ our works â€“ has been prepared by God and serves His purposes.
Ephesians 2:8-15: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith â€” and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God â€” not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are Godâ€™s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called â€œuncircumcisedâ€ by those who call themselves â€œthe circumcisionâ€ (which is done in the body by human hands) â€” remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace . . .
- How do you long to see the “hands of faith” play out in your life, family, community, campus, field?
- Prayer for Presence and Proclamation
Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.
Next in series: Christian Faith and the Distortion of the Hands.
*Drawn from an adult elective based upon Dennis Hollinger‘s “Head, Heart & Hands: Bringing Together Christian Thought, Passion and Action” (InterVarsity Press, 2005). Kevin Milligan facilitated the class at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church. Note: See the first post in the series for more on the genesis of this study guide as part of a local Emerging Scholars Network partnership (South Central Scholars Network PA FB and Christian Scholar Series).
Updated 7/14/2011, 9:19 AM, EST.
About the author:
Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the Northeast Regional Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). For a number of years, the Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine was the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!