May 13, 2007 Quinn's Sermon

Intro to Isaiah 49 – The voice we hear in Isaiah 49 today is the voice of a prophet chosen by God to speak to the people of God.  The people of God, the Israelites, who in this oracle are addressed as Zion, had witnessed the destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem (the City of God where God was to be worshiped) and are currently in captivity under the Babylonian Empire.  In this dismal and grim setting the prophet Isaiah is proclaiming the LORD’s steadfast love for the LORD’s people and the LORD’s people (Zion) say…yea right.  I invite you to listen to the dialog which occurs between the LORD and Zion through the prophet Isaiah.  

READING OF ISAIAH 49

 

Being a follower of the LORD, “God’s people (Zion)”, wasn’t easy.  We enter the story of God’s people in a time when they were not experiencing ease or comfort…didn’t feel nor see the steadfast love of God around them…and they judged that God must have forgotten them.

Who said that being a follower of the LORD would be easy or comfortable?

Who said being a follower of Jesus would be easy?  This might come as a shocking statement, but I will say it; If you want a life of ease and to have a comfortable faith…I wouldn’t suggest being a follower of Jesus. 

 

I am not afraid of saying this because I think in many cases we wrongly judge the validity of God’s steadfast love and existence by what feels comfortable and easy. And in doing so we miss the true breadth of God’s love.

Let me flesh this out.  It seems we know God exists when things are working in our favor, when we make it safely home from air travel, when sickness doesn’t touch our family and we equate God’s love with feeling good and at ease...but when we don’t feel good, when things are dark and nothing seems to be going our way, when we experience major turbulence in our travel or when sickness ravages our family…we wonder if God has forgotten us…we even go as far as to wonder if God exists.  We echo the words of Zion in Isaiah 49, “The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.”

 

 

 

Zion is another name for Jerusalem, the City of God, and it suggests an image of the city as the anguished daughter of God, in pain because she believes the LORD has forsaken her.  Well frankly, I don’t see her being far off.  This cry of anguish comes 45 years after the destruction of the physical city of Jerusalem by the Babylonian Empire.  And but now the people of God where in Babylonian Captivity. This deported community doubted God’s steadfast love for them and even doubted the power of God.

They knew God’s promises to them and the prophet reminds them of these promises as documented earlier in Isaiah 49 ; “This is what the LORD says – the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel… ‘Kings will see you and rise up, princes will see and bow down, because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.’…I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances…’” (vs. 7, 8b).

The prophet who is speaking on behalf of the LORD is calling them to “Shout for joy, to rejoice and to burst into song, because LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.

 

And Zion, whose spokes person speaks as a protective mother on their behalf says… yea right…blah, blah, blah.  We don’t see it, we don’t feel your comfort, we don’t see it coming about any time soon considering we have been here for 45 YEARS!  She wanted some action, some proof that God really loved them and was the LORD of heaven and history! 

 

The LORD hears mother Zion’s plea for comfort and assurance and answers her by appealing to her own experience;

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?...”

The only response to this rhetorical question can be “Of course not!” The bond between a mother and her infant is not only emotionally strong but physically strong; mothers are physically compelled to attentiveness and nurture!  If you have been around a mother, or have been a mother, or are a mother yourself in the first few months of an infant’s life then you know that the idea of a nursing mother abandoning her infant is absurd.  And in all honesty the attentiveness and nurture of a mother doesn’t stop there.  I will never forget seeing tears stream down my mother’s face as I drove down the driveway in our blue Subaru for the first time…honestly, I didn’t get it at first but now I do.  I am her baby!  

Now, if we take a quick scan of the daily newspaper we are reminded that there are mothers who are capable of neglect.  Mother’s can forget and abandon their children.  The LORD recognizes this saying; 

“Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”

Now, the LORD’s point here is not to condemn mother Zion’s failures to care for the people of God.  Instead, the focus rests on the LORD’s faithfulness and constancy in the present and future.  God assures them of his compassion for them and LORDship of the heavens and of history.  God does this by stretching out his hands to show them that they have been engraved on the palms of God’s hands.  In this engraving God had created the first palm pilot; a way of remembering that God never forgets them. A sign that says, you are mine, I am yours and what ever I put my hands to, you are in mind. 

God had birthed and nurtured the covenant people throughout time and now God raises the stakes on the claim of maternal love by giving assurance that God’s faithfulness eclipses even the purest expression of human love; “Thou she may forget, I will not forget you!” Assurance of God’s steadfast love and LORDship didn’t come in the form of ease.  It didn’t look like immediate freedom from Babylonian Captivity, nor did they see Kings rise up in their presence nor princes bow down…rather compassion and assurance came in that their LORD answered their plea by reminding them that the mission of God is still underway, even if imperceptively. The city walls continue to be built up. Despite interference, delays and setbacks, the work progresses. The plans are in God’s hands.

 

Now, it is nearly impossible for me to not see the pierced hands of Jesus in this promise.  The hands that were stretched out for Thomas to touch after Jesus’ resurrection. 

 

Talk about not feeling the LORD’s compassion or seeing signs that the LORD was still the LORD of the heavens and of history.  Thomas along with the other disciples had just witnessed the death of Jesus, the one who they thought was the long awaited Messiah.  The atmosphere was violent, so much so that the disciples locked themselves in doors.  The disciples experiencing attack from fellow Jews who were accusing them of Treason and their faith in the LORD’s sovereignty over the heavens and history was rocked.  God has forgotten us.  We must have been wrong because how could the Messiah be killed? Nothing was working out their way, death had touched their family, the Kings and princes had not bowed down but rather laid their savior down in the grave.  The promise spoken to them by Jesus, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12) seemed bogus. 

In the midst of this despair and hopelessness (just like Zion’s despair in the midst of Babylonian Captivity) Thomas was told by his fellow disciples that they had “seen the Lord” risen from the dead.  But Thomas, again like Zion said…yea right! “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” Like the protective mother of Zion, he demanded to literally feel the Lord’s compassion and to see a sign of assurance. And the Lord heard his plea and answered by stretching out his hands upon which his name had been engraved by nails of compassion and assurance.  Assurance of God’s steadfast love and LORDship didn’t come in the form of ease.  It didn’t look like immediate ceasing of violence against the disciples, it didn’t mean that Israel would finally be restored, it didn’t mean Jesus would stay around as King on earth. Compassion came in that the LORD answered Thomas’ plea by showing him that the mission of God was still underway, even if imperceptively. The walls which were torn down rose up in Jesus’ resurrection. Despite interference, delays and setbacks, the work progresses. The plans are in God’s hands.

 

The Cross, where Jesus’ hands were pierced by nails of condemnation and death, looked like proof to Thomas that the LORD had forgotten his people. But it was actually an act of maternal love, foretold in the words of the Prophet Isaiah; an act of  compassion and assurance, a faithfulness that eclipses even the purest expression of human love.  Julian of Norwich talks about the motherly love of God shown forth in Jesus.  In her work titled Revelations of Divine Love she says, “Jesus is our mother because he is the one who creates, nurtures and liberates us.” 

 

Jesus creates us, we are children of God, made in God’s image.  Being his children Jesus brings us to life and to joy, carries us within himself, and suffers the most appalling pain possible so that the child may be brought to birth.

 

Jesus loves us like a mother in his nurture and comfort of us.  As a baby is soothed, feed, nurtured and given peace at their mother’s breast so too are we soothed, feed, nurtured and given peace in Christ.  As Julian of Norwich says; “Like a mother he feeds us with food from his own body; the [Supper] of his body and blood.” This image of Jesus connects us with “the sustaining, giving love of God who works ceaselessly to satisfy our needs.”  This aspect of the motherly love of Jesus is what first draws us to trust in God. This love comforts and eases us, but like babies who are greedy for a mother’s milk we can get greedy for what God can do for us. We get the idea in our head that our relationship with the LORD through Christ is about what God can do for us…and this question becomes the foundation of our relationship.  We start grumbling like Zion and Thomas looking for ease and comfort as thee signs of God’s steadfast love and reality. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that our need for ease and comfort are bad…I am rather saying that we can give them too much weight in our judgment of God’s steadfast love and existence.  God knows our vulnerability toward addiction to ease and comfort and thus expresses motherly love also in liberating us.

 

Julian of Norwich states, “Jesus is our mother because he is the one who liberates us. He understands and knows most truly the needs of his children, and loves us appropriately at every stage of our development. Like a mother, his desire is for the fulfillment and growth of the child, not that it should stay locked in helpless dependence and weakness. Like a mother, he allows us to make our own mistakes and to learn from them, letting us fall and hurt ourselves because he knows that we would never learn to walk if he caught us every time we stumble.” What I hear in this explanation is that Jesus loves us like a mother in that he grows us in order to sustain us for the journey as followers of the LORD in a hostile world.  He does this by liberating us from a dependence upon comfort and ease. For a time, God will feed us with baby’s milk providing comfort and ease, but he eventually weans us from a helpless dependence and an addiction to bodily comfort and ease.  He aims to cure us of the question, “what can or does God do for me?”  A mother’s love consists of more than giving us what we want…so also is the nature of the love of God for us.  God also liberates us by letting us experience the emptiness of our own devices of finding comfort and assurance.  A baby will drink a mother’s milk as long as you allow them to…but there comes a point when that is a hindrance upon their growth.  This aspect of the motherhood of God puts us in touch with the “risky, costly, liberating love of God who loves us enough to let us go, who believes in us enough to let us make our own choices.”  Julian of Norwich states, “’As the child grows older”’ ‘”the mother changes her methods – but not her love.’” 

 

As children it is not always easy to accept this aspect of a motherly love. 

Zion grumbled wondering where God was and why life was so hard, why they were in captivity, why they weren’t accepted amongst the nations, why they suffered.  Thomas grumbled wondering where God was, why the supposed Messiah was laying in a grave, why his people were out to kill him, why they suffered.  We grumble wondering where God is, why life is so hard, why being a Christian is so unacceptable, why is the church so divided and why we suffer. When we come to worship and are called to shout for joy and rejoice and we say…yea right, why should we…we are still vulnerable to disease, we do not have all the answers, we can’t avert accidents or promise healing, we can’t stop Tornadoes from ripping through towns… “The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.”

 

Now, it is nearly impossible for me to not hear the words of Jesus on the Cross in this cry, “My God, My God why have you forsaken me.”  What looks to us like abandonment by the LORD is actually an act of maternal love; an attentiveness and nurture, a faithfulness that eclipses even the purest expression of human love. Assurance of God’s steadfast love and LORDship doesn’t come in the form of ease.  It doesn’t look like immediate answer of our prayers nor the granting of everything we want, it doesn’t mean that we won’t experience ridicule for our faith, it doesn’t mean we will be untouchable by disease, death or pain, it doesn’t mean we have all the answers. Compassion comes in that the LORD answers our plea for compassion and assurance by showing us that the mission of God is still underway, even if imperceptively. The walls of God’s Kingdom are being built up. Despite interference, delays and setbacks, the work progresses. The plans are in God’s hands.

Stretching out his hands upon the Cross he bore all things that threaten to convince us that we have been forsaken by our LORD and stretching out his hands for us to touch we are reminded that we are engraved on the palms of God’s hands. 

Now, it is nearly impossible for me to not see the pierced hands of Jesus in this promise.  The hands that were stretched out for Thomas to touch after Jesus’ resurrection. 

 

Talk about not feeling the LORD’s compassion or seeing signs that the LORD was still the LORD of the heavens and of history.  Thomas along with the other disciples had just witnessed the death of Jesus, the one who they thought was the long awaited Messiah.  The atmosphere was violent, so much so that the disciples locked themselves in doors.  The disciples experiencing attack from fellow Jews who were accusing them of Treason and their faith in the LORD’s sovereignty over the heavens and history was rocked.  God has forgotten us.  We must have been wrong because how could the Messiah be killed? Nothing was working out their way, death had touched their family, the Kings and princes had not bowed down but rather laid their savior down in the grave.  The promise spoken to them by Jesus, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12) seemed bogus. 

In the midst of this despair and hopelessness (just like Zion’s despair in the midst of Babylonian Captivity) Thomas was told by his fellow disciples that they had “seen the Lord” risen from the dead.  But Thomas, again like Zion said…yea right! “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” Like the protective mother of Zion, he demanded to literally feel the Lord’s compassion and to see a sign of assurance. And the Lord heard his plea and answered by stretching out his hands upon which his name had been engraved by nails of compassion and assurance.  Assurance of God’s steadfast love and LORDship didn’t come in the form of ease.  It didn’t look like immediate ceasing of violence against the disciples, it didn’t mean that Israel would finally be restored, it didn’t mean Jesus would stay around as King on earth. Compassion came in that the LORD answered Thomas’ plea by showing him that the mission of God was still underway, even if imperceptively. The walls which were torn down rose up in Jesus’ resurrection. Despite interference, delays and setbacks, the work progresses. The plans are in God’s hands.

 

The Cross, where Jesus’ hands were pierced by nails of condemnation and death, looked like proof to Thomas that the LORD had forgotten his people. But it was actually an act of maternal love, foretold in the words of the Prophet Isaiah; an act of  compassion and assurance, a faithfulness that eclipses even the purest expression of human love.  Julian of Norwich talks about the motherly love of God shown forth in Jesus.  In her work titled Revelations of Divine Love she says, “Jesus is our mother because he is the one who creates, nurtures and liberates us.” 

 

Jesus creates us, we are children of God, made in God’s image.  Being his children Jesus brings us to life and to joy, carries us within himself, and suffers the most appalling pain possible so that the child may be brought to birth.

 

Jesus loves us like a mother in his nurture and comfort of us.  As a baby is soothed, feed, nurtured and given peace at their mother’s breast so too are we soothed, feed, nurtured and given peace in Christ.  As Julian of Norwich says; “Like a mother he feeds us with food from his own body; the [Supper] of his body and blood.” This image of Jesus connects us with “the sustaining, giving love of God who works ceaselessly to satisfy our needs.”  This aspect of the motherly love of Jesus is what first draws us to trust in God. This love comforts and eases us, but like babies who are greedy for a mother’s milk we can get greedy for what God can do for us. We get the idea in our head that our relationship with the LORD through Christ is about what God can do for us…and this question becomes the foundation of our relationship.  We start grumbling like Zion and Thomas looking for ease and comfort as thee signs of God’s steadfast love and reality. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that our need for ease and comfort are bad…I am rather saying that we can give them too much weight in our judgment of God’s steadfast love and existence.  God knows our vulnerability toward addiction to ease and comfort and thus expresses motherly love also in liberating us.

 

Julian of Norwich states, “Jesus is our mother because he is the one who liberates us. He understands and knows most truly the needs of his children, and loves us appropriately at every stage of our development. Like a mother, his desire is for the fulfillment and growth of the child, not that it should stay locked in helpless dependence and weakness. Like a mother, he allows us to make our own mistakes and to learn from them, letting us fall and hurt ourselves because he knows that we would never learn to walk if he caught us every time we stumble.” What I hear in this explanation is that Jesus loves us like a mother in that he grows us in order to sustain us for the journey as followers of the LORD in a hostile world.  He does this by liberating us from a dependence upon comfort and ease. For a time, God will feed us with baby’s milk providing comfort and ease, but he eventually weans us from a helpless dependence and an addiction to bodily comfort and ease.  He aims to cure us of the question, “what can or does God do for me?”  A mother’s love consists of more than giving us what we want…so also is the nature of the love of God for us.  God also liberates us by letting us experience the emptiness of our own devices of finding comfort and assurance.  A baby will drink a mother’s milk as long as you allow them to…but there comes a point when that is a hindrance upon their growth.  This aspect of the motherhood of God puts us in touch with the “risky, costly, liberating love of God who loves us enough to let us go, who believes in us enough to let us make our own choices.”  Julian of Norwich states, “’As the child grows older”’ ‘”the mother changes her methods – but not her love.’” 

 

As children it is not always easy to accept this aspect of a motherly love. 

Zion grumbled wondering where God was and why life was so hard, why they were in captivity, why they weren’t accepted amongst the nations, why they suffered.  Thomas grumbled wondering where God was, why the supposed Messiah was laying in a grave, why his people were out to kill him, why they suffered.  We grumble wondering where God is, why life is so hard, why being a Christian is so unacceptable, why is the church so divided and why we suffer. When we come to worship and are called to shout for joy and rejoice and we say…yea right, why should we…we are still vulnerable to disease, we do not have all the answers, we can’t avert accidents or promise healing, we can’t stop Tornadoes from ripping through towns… “The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.”

 

Now, it is nearly impossible for me to not hear the words of Jesus on the Cross in this cry, “My God, My God why have you forsaken me.”  What looks to us like abandonment by the LORD is actually an act of maternal love; an attentiveness and nurture, a faithfulness that eclipses even the purest expression of human love. Assurance of God’s steadfast love and LORDship doesn’t come in the form of ease.  It doesn’t look like immediate answer of our prayers nor the granting of everything we want, it doesn’t mean that we won’t experience ridicule for our faith, it doesn’t mean we will be untouchable by disease, death or pain, it doesn’t mean we have all the answers. Compassion comes in that the LORD answers our plea for compassion and assurance by showing us that the mission of God is still underway, even if imperceptively. The walls of God’s Kingdom are being built up. Despite interference, delays and setbacks, the work progresses. The plans are in God’s hands.

Stretching out his hands upon the Cross he bore all things that threaten to convince us that we have been forsaken by our LORD and stretching out his hands for us to touch we are reminded that we are engraved on the palms of God’s hands. 

 

Now, it is nearly impossible for me to not see the pierced hands of Jesus in this promise.  The hands that were stretched out for Thomas to touch after Jesus’ resurrection. 

 

Talk about not feeling the LORD’s compassion or seeing signs that the LORD was still the LORD of the heavens and of history.  Thomas along with the other disciples had just witnessed the death of Jesus, the one who they thought was the long awaited Messiah.  The atmosphere was violent, so much so that the disciples locked themselves in doors.  The disciples experiencing attack from fellow Jews who were accusing them of Treason and their faith in the LORD’s sovereignty over the heavens and history was rocked.  God has forgotten us.  We must have been wrong because how could the Messiah be killed? Nothing was working out their way, death had touched their family, the Kings and princes had not bowed down but rather laid their savior down in the grave.  The promise spoken to them by Jesus, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12) seemed bogus. 

In the midst of this despair and hopelessness (just like Zion’s despair in the midst of Babylonian Captivity) Thomas was told by his fellow disciples that they had “seen the Lord” risen from the dead.  But Thomas, again like Zion said…yea right! “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” Like the protective mother of Zion, he demanded to literally feel the Lord’s compassion and to see a sign of assurance. And the Lord heard his plea and answered by stretching out his hands upon which his name had been engraved by nails of compassion and assurance.  Assurance of God’s steadfast love and LORDship didn’t come in the form of ease.  It didn’t look like immediate ceasing of violence against the disciples, it didn’t mean that Israel would finally be restored, it didn’t mean Jesus would stay around as King on earth. Compassion came in that the LORD answered Thomas’ plea by showing him that the mission of God was still underway, even if imperceptively. The walls which were torn down rose up in Jesus’ resurrection. Despite interference, delays and setbacks, the work progresses. The plans are in God’s hands.

 

The Cross, where Jesus’ hands were pierced by nails of condemnation and death, looked like proof to Thomas that the LORD had forgotten his people. But it was actually an act of maternal love, foretold in the words of the Prophet Isaiah; an act of  compassion and assurance, a faithfulness that eclipses even the purest expression of human love.  Julian of Norwich talks about the motherly love of God shown forth in Jesus.  In her work titled Revelations of Divine Love she says, “Jesus is our mother because he is the one who creates, nurtures and liberates us.” 

 

Jesus creates us, we are children of God, made in God’s image.  Being his children Jesus brings us to life and to joy, carries us within himself, and suffers the most appalling pain possible so that the child may be brought to birth.

 

Jesus loves us like a mother in his nurture and comfort of us.  As a baby is soothed, feed, nurtured and given peace at their mother’s breast so too are we soothed, feed, nurtured and given peace in Christ.  As Julian of Norwich says; “Like a mother he feeds us with food from his own body; the [Supper] of his body and blood.” This image of Jesus connects us with “the sustaining, giving love of God who works ceaselessly to satisfy our needs.”  This aspect of the motherly love of Jesus is what first draws us to trust in God. This love comforts and eases us, but like babies who are greedy for a mother’s milk we can get greedy for what God can do for us. We get the idea in our head that our relationship with the LORD through Christ is about what God can do for us…and this question becomes the foundation of our relationship.  We start grumbling like Zion and Thomas looking for ease and comfort as thee signs of God’s steadfast love and reality. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that our need for ease and comfort are bad…I am rather saying that we can give them too much weight in our judgment of God’s steadfast love and existence.  God knows our vulnerability toward addiction to ease and comfort and thus expresses motherly love also in liberating us.

 

Julian of Norwich states, “Jesus is our mother because he is the one who liberates us. He understands and knows most truly the needs of his children, and loves us appropriately at every stage of our development. Like a mother, his desire is for the fulfillment and growth of the child, not that it should stay locked in helpless dependence and weakness. Like a mother, he allows us to make our own mistakes and to learn from them, letting us fall and hurt ourselves because he knows that we would never learn to walk if he caught us every time we stumble.” What I hear in this explanation is that Jesus loves us like a mother in that he grows us in order to sustain us for the journey as followers of the LORD in a hostile world.  He does this by liberating us from a dependence upon comfort and ease. For a time, God will feed us with baby’s milk providing comfort and ease, but he eventually weans us from a helpless dependence and an addiction to bodily comfort and ease.  He aims to cure us of the question, “what can or does God do for me?”  A mother’s love consists of more than giving us what we want…so also is the nature of the love of God for us.  God also liberates us by letting us experience the emptiness of our own devices of finding comfort and assurance.  A baby will drink a mother’s milk as long as you allow them to…but there comes a point when that is a hindrance upon their growth.  This aspect of the motherhood of God puts us in touch with the “risky, costly, liberating love of God who loves us enough to let us go, who believes in us enough to let us make our own choices.”  Julian of Norwich states, “’As the child grows older”’ ‘”the mother changes her methods – but not her love.’” 

 

As children it is not always easy to accept this aspect of a motherly love. 

Zion grumbled wondering where God was and why life was so hard, why they were in captivity, why they weren’t accepted amongst the nations, why they suffered.  Thomas grumbled wondering where God was, why the supposed Messiah was laying in a grave, why his people were out to kill him, why they suffered.  We grumble wondering where God is, why life is so hard, why being a Christian is so unacceptable, why is the church so divided and why we suffer. When we come to worship and are called to shout for joy and rejoice and we say…yea right, why should we…we are still vulnerable to disease, we do not have all the answers, we can’t avert accidents or promise healing, we can’t stop Tornadoes from ripping through towns… “The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.”

 

Now, it is nearly impossible for me to not hear the words of Jesus on the Cross in this cry, “My God, My God why have you forsaken me.”  What looks to us like abandonment by the LORD is actually an act of maternal love; an attentiveness and nurture, a faithfulness that eclipses even the purest expression of human love. Assurance of God’s steadfast love and LORDship doesn’t come in the form of ease.  It doesn’t look like immediate answer of our prayers nor the granting of everything we want, it doesn’t mean that we won’t experience ridicule for our faith, it doesn’t mean we will be untouchable by disease, death or pain, it doesn’t mean we have all the answers. Compassion comes in that the LORD answers our plea for compassion and assurance by showing us that the mission of God is still underway, even if imperceptively. The walls of God’s Kingdom are being built up. Despite interference, delays and setbacks, the work progresses. The plans are in God’s hands.

Stretching out his hands upon the Cross he bore all things that threaten to convince us that we have been forsaken by our LORD and stretching out his hands for us to touch we are reminded that we are engraved on the palms of God’s hands.