'God's work, our hands'
“God’s Work, Our Hands” is a tagline for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) when its congregations have a day of service, both within the congregation and out in the community.
Different places do different sorts of activities. Common examples are making fleece blankets, doing painting or cleaning projects in the church or community, helping a food or clothing pantry get organized, baking cookies to give away, cleaning up a local park, doing a car wash, or making greeting cards for people who are unable to get out of their homes, are in nursing homes, or are hospitalized. Each congregation comes up with ideas that work for their situation and context.
But the concept of God’s Work, Our Hands is not something that you have to be a member of an ELCA congregation, such as Grace Lutheran, to participate in, and it doesn’t have to happen on only one specific date!
If you think about it, we all do God’s work, as we act as God’s hands (and feet) when we do good in the world. Some participate through volunteer work, such as being a Bookin’ Buddy reading with second-graders at the school or putting in hours at the food shelf. Others build, craft or create things or write letters to those who are lonely or to deployed service members. Sometimes someone may do something like sell lemonade and use the money to go toward a cause they are passionate about, such as for wells that provide clean drinking water in Africa.
In the Old Testament, the prophets were God’s messengers (God’s hands and mouth), telling the king and people what God told them to say, often warning them to change their ways, but they also spoke words of comfort and encouragement from God.
In the New Testament, Jesus was doing God’s work with his hands, feet, ministry and life. After his death, resurrection and ascension, Jesus’ followers continued to do the work that Jesus did, regardless of the circumstances in which they found themselves – in prison, beaten, kicked out of synagogues, disowned by family and friends, etc. They cared for the poor and made sure the widows and orphans had food, spreading the Good News of the gospel wherever they went.
Today we don’t usually suffer the same tribulations as the first Christians, but we still do have the opportunity to share the Good News wherever we go, doing things to help our neighbors, honor God, and serve, being the presence of God in our families, neighborhoods, schools, communities and churches as we live our lives doing God’s work with our hands in the world.