An outstretched hand

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to them,”
declares the Lord.
“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.

~Jeremiah 31:31-33

The image associated with today’s passage on the Lenten Cross is that of an outstretched hand. A gesture that functions as an invitation, from one party to another.

One of the readings that I’ve been doing as part of my study the past couple of days has been around the theology of embrace.1 The writer describes how the act of embrace involves four elements: opening the arms, waiting, closing the arms, and opening the arms again. Each step is important in order for the interaction to be mutual, for example the act of waiting is an act of respect, for it gives the opportunity for the other to choose how they will respond, whether or not they will participate.

An outstretched hand is similar to the initial opening of the arms. It is an indication that, within the one who has outstretched their hand or opened their arms, space has been created for another. I wonder what it would then mean to think of God outstretching a hand to us…


  1. Volf, Miroslav. Exclusion and Embrace : A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1996.


A reflection based on the Lenten Cross Reading for the 8th day of Lent.


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