I. The Man with the Withered Hand (Mark 3:1-6)

My bones ache with hunger.
My eyes strain from seeking.
But seeking what?
Waiting for what?
For nothing,
For who would help me today?
This is the sad irony of the Lord’s Day.

Synagogues bustle and pockets are heavy,
But hearts remain empty—
Even more empty than my hand,
For at least I would seek to fill mine.

Another sad irony.
I cannot.
I cannot even reach out
To work or to beg
Or to pray.

But it does not matter.
One cannot pour from an empty jar
And empty hearts could never fill
This broken vessel.

A withered hand
Can hold nothing.

And yet here I wait,
Waiting for someone
To take me in compassion’s palm.

“Come here,” He says,
And it is the voice
Of the Rightmost Hand.

And it reaches—
He reaches—
As I cannot.

“Stretch out your hand,” He says.

Will the cruelty ever end?
Why does he mock me?
But then,
Immediately…

I watch my fingers uncurl, lengthen,
Reaching toward the one who reaches me.

Immediately,
My nails harden
As nails will strike him.
My palm fattens
As His grows thin.

Immediately,
Muscles strengthen.
And then,
It is and is no longer my hand
That clings to Him.

Immediately,
The skin is softened,
Like my heart.

Immediately,
As this cursed limb is healed,
I find that I am filled.

Hardened hearts are whole jars—
easily shattered.
Softened, mine bends as my knuckles,
Made new to take in life.

Immediately,
My hand restored, my hope fulfilled,
I am sustained
And can sustain
A hand raised in silent praise.

Oh, happy day!
This Lord’s day,
The irony cured
Immediately.

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