Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit, alleluia, alleluia
      Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit, alleluia, alleluia.
      You have redeemed us, Lord, God of faithfulness, alleluia, alleluia.
      Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit, alleluia, alleluia.
      Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
      Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit, alleluia, alleluia.

      Perhaps it doesn't matter where I learned first that a Jewish Mother
      will teach her child this prayer from the very beginning. 'Into your
      hands, Lord, I commend my spirit,' She does it rather as we teach our
      children similar prayers. "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray thee
      Lord, my soul to keep, and if I die before I wake.... "
      Certainly that knowledge affected me this Good Friday past, though we
      did not, this year, 'do' the Seven words on the cross. Just, sometime
      in the afternoon I found myself thinking how poignant it was - how it
      must have affected His mother to hear him say, as he turned his head
      to the rough wood of the cross, as a child might say turning his
      little head on the pillow, "Father.." How trusting He was, as a little
      child, in the most grievous and cruel moment, while he was still in
      torture.. "into your hands."

      The thought has stayed.

      I sense that I have aged since last December, in a way quite different
      from the rather triumphal maturity I sensed when I hit 54. I have
      found the psalms somehow talking with my own voice, as if nowadays
      when I read the scriptures they are, really and truly about me, and
      about the people I know, and the things that are really happening. My
      mind and heart have been questing, as tongue and cheek quest a broken
      tooth, touching and trying the morsels of the day, asking, unvoiced,
      'Is this the peace?' 'Is this the edge of hope?'

      And at the end of every day, as I slip between the covers and lay my
      head on the pillow I hear myself pray, 'Into your hands, Lord.. Into
      your hands.'

      The thought did not stay there.
      I found that it crept into my morning offering. No longer was that
      offering formal in the way that it had been. Not at all. Now it begins
      'Into your hands Lord, I commend my spirit.'

      I am sure you remember the Mercy Prayer: 'Eternal Father, I offer you
      the body and blood, soul and divinity of your only and beloved Son' ..

      Now I found my morning offering taking a similar form. Lord, into your
      hand I commend my spirit. I offer you my day and my life, my soul and
      my body, my mind and my heart as your dear Son offered you his life..

      This was joined by a little Franciscan prayer,

      "May the power of your love, Lord Christ,
      fiery and sweet,
      so absorb our hearts
      as to withdraw them from all that is under heaven;
      grant that we may be ready
      to die for love of your love,
      as you died for love of our love. Amen. Francis of Assisi"

      But of course, this one didn't stay as it was either. It began to

      "Lord, into your hand I commend my spirit. I offer you my day and my
      life, my soul and my body, my mind and my heart, as your dear Son
      offered you his life.. "May I begin to live and die for love of your
      as you rejoiced to live and to die for love of our love.
      May I live and die in and for You."

      Is this the peace which passes understanding?
      I don't know.

      Now I almost felt the hands around me, as if I were small enough to be
      like a butterfly in the hands of a very gentle child. I found myself,
      sometimes, drawing other people into that wonderful nut shaped space
      and time. A friend. Someone who had hurt me once that I found had
      since been hurting others in the same way. Out of a novel I heard him
      say, "I don't need your solutions little one, I need to see your
      problem". Somehow, 'things' which had been overturning me, became
      smaller, sharper, and - I admit it - no longer my business in the way
      that I had thought.

      I find myself taking short breaks, as the days at home have become
      weeks. I find myself reading e-mails which ask for prayer, and somehow
      tucking them into the little pool of potential which is me trusting
      and loving Him even though that seems almost to be a lie. Its the
      desire to trust, to believe, to hope and to love. The desire to live
      forever between those lovely brown boned hands, those 'dear, wounded,
      hands. '

      I offer you my Spirit. My soul, my body, my mind and my heart. I
      include this. This person or this pain. This desire and this apathy.

      I find things hurt more.
      But I find they're not so dramatic any more.
      I want to hide, and I can hide.
      And I can draw the things I want to hide from with me into this
      offering space.

      Maybe that's because I'm no longer quite at the centre of events as I
      was. Rather, He is. There's a semi humorous shrug in there somewhere,
      as I apply for a job, or visit a government department, or make a
      phone call or write a letter. "Well, they can only say No or Yes."
      "No or Yes. That's up to You."

      Maybe it won't last. In fact, almost certainly it won't last. After
      all this time I know myself enough to know that tomorrow's revelation
      will not be the same as today's. But for now, now is the acceptable
      time. Now is the only time. The very point of peace, here now, between
      the last breath and the one I'm taking

      And in this 'now' is the moment when I join Him. No, when He joins me.
      Yes, He is with me.
      But He is, somehow, joining me to myself, and me to the people round
      me in a rather more healthy way. Lots of stuff is His business, not
      mine. That includes lots of my pain and my fear, as I am pleased to
      call it. Because whether it is mine or yours, it is still real for me,
      but not half so real as it is to Him. When I do manage to see that I
      find that there are sometimes things I can do, sometimes there are
      things I never thought of to do. Whether its a cross or a cradle, a
      call to vastness or a cry from an abandoned child,

      Lord. Into your hand I commend my spirit, Alleluia, Alleluia,
      My sleep and my waking, my love and my life
      Alleluia, Alleluia,
      my soul and my body, my mind and my heart
      Alleluia, Alleluia...

      First published: Meditations of My Heart Sat May 26, 2007 10:48 am


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