If you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, can you judge a painting by its title? I almost overlooked a key detail in this painting by Michael Frederick Halliday until I read the title;
The Blind Basket Maker and his First Child.
It reminded me of the four devoted parents who presented their babies at church for a dedication ceremony last Sunday. In their limited capacity, which we all share as mums and dads, they promised to raise their children to know God, and to demonstrate their love for Him in ways their children could follow. They gave thanks to God for the blessing of their babies and acknowledged God's true ownership of families.
One phrase caught my attention during the service. "We will hold you with an open hand..."
How does a parent hold with an 'open hand'? My instinct is to hold with one closed fist, and my other hand clamped over the first one. As a mum of two teenagers and one 'almost' teenager, I've thought about this some more since Sunday.
Holding with an open hand is the promise to cradle until the time comes to let go. It means to provide a soft place to land but not smother. It's only when we hold our hand open that we're able to receive from God and to offer our children back to Him. I confess, this is not always easy to do when the darkness of this world hovers like a blinding fog.
How would the basket maker feel about his new role as father? Would he feel equipped to provide a home worthy of his baby? He has the means to support his family, little though his income would be. We know he's not afraid to show affection and interest in his child and I suspect a love of music will be shared before too long. Most of all, the parents in this home love one another... with all their imperfections.
No one will ever be the perfect parent. We all come to the job with our weaknesses. Thankfully we can hold our children out to God, as we wait on Him to finish the good work He began in them... and in us.
Philipians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Do you 'hold your child with an open hand?' Is it something you find easy to do?