Midweek devotion

Emmanuel Lutheran is a member-congregation of the North American Lutheran Church and therefore belongs to the Iowa Mission District which has approximately thirty-five congregations. The Mission District is led by a District Council which is chaired by the Dean. I served on that Council for several years until I decided not to run for re-election. The District produces a monthly newsletter in hopes to keep the spread-out member-congregations connected. It can be accessed via the internet, of course, and we place a copy of it, in full or part, on the boards by the offices. The Dean writes a short article for each newsletter and today I wish to share with you what he wrote for the month of August – with the encouragement to check out future editions on your own at www.iowamissiondistrict.com  – Pastor Z+

Praying Hands

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“By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” John 13: 35

Albrecht Durer was a famous artist from the 16th century. While studying his art, Durer and a friend roomed together. Both showed promise as artists, but the meager income they earned on the side was not enough to pay the rent, food and other expenses. So they decided that one would go to work to support the other in his studies. Durer offered to go to work first but his friend insisted that Durer finish his studies while he worked.

In time, Durer completed his studies and became an accomplished artist and engraver. Returning to his room one day, he announced that it was time for him to go to work so his friend could study art. However, by this time his friend’s hands had become so rough and swollen from his handwork that he could no longer hold and use a paintbrush with the skill he once had. His career as an artist had ended.

Durer was extremely saddened by his friend’s disappointment. One day upon entering the house he heard his friend praying with his hands held in a reverent attitude. At once, he knew what he could do to create a lasting tribute to his friend’s generosity and sacrifice. Durer’s picture, entitled “Praying Hands” became his most famous work, and has been reprinted countless times as an illustration of simple, profound faith and reverence.

It is a reminder to each of us that the simplest, most humble act can have the most profound effect when done in love and service for another. With the pandemic we have been facing and the unrest and turmoil taking place in our country it is understandable for people to become focused on their own personal worries and cares.

With the forced isolation and limited contact with others it is easy to turn inward in our thoughts and actions. In such a time it is more important than ever to find ways to reach out to one another. Sometimes it takes a word, a call, or a friendly note to be reminded that there are others who care about us. I received just such a note the other day – nothing earth-shattering or urgent, just a note saying, “I am thinking about you.” It made my whole day. Even with the limitations on our contacts with one another, there are many ways that we can show our care for each other – and show that we are disciples of our Lord. Pastor Marshall Hahn, Dean, Iowa Mission District, NALC