A Quaker Meeting in Camas, WA
Picture your hands open out in front you, what words come to mind to describe this gesture? Some words might be openness, no strings attached, giving away, surrender. Open hands is an image that makes me think of a person who does a loving and gracious act because it is something they are led to do, something they want to do and so do it out of a freedom. These acts are unconditional, they done not for the press, they are done it is the right thing to do. Too often in our day everything has a catch or a price.
Just the other day I found a website that encouraged people to make a picture of their first car, mine was a Dodge Caravan my parents gave me. So I made the image using some strange Internet Voodoo (it looked surprisingly like my van) and then it asked to tell the story of my van (I have lots, but one is that I blew out the engine because I didn’t know how to change the oil!). When I clicked on the button to begin writing my story it pulled up links to Facebook and asked if it was okay to advertise for a Subaru car – tagged as a great first car or something like that. Here I totally fell for it. I was travelling down memory lane and next thing you know I’m advertising for a car company on my Facebook page (I didn’t actually go through with it).
A community of Open hands is not like a tricky advertising page. Once we have you, then we’re going to give you the pitch. No. A community of open hands is just open. It’s free. It’s a gift. And that is a radically different orientation to the world and to one another. This is a community that acts out of conviction that to love God is to love neighbor and in the act of loving our neighbor, God is worshipped. So the point is that the act itself is the gift both the recipient as well as to us.
Camas Friends is an open handed community. We take what resources we have and we share it with others without a catch. Even in difficult times this is true. Many of us have gone through some difficult times, many of us are still in them. Yet, we continue to come back to this image of open hands. This is a sign of depth and courage, it is a sign of unselfish love and a friendship with God that does not pass away.