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Monday, October 3, 2022
Bible Meditation: 
Ecclesiastes 4: 7-12

“For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up” – Ecclesiastes 4:10

From ancient aeons, humankind has mused on MYSTERIES of HANDS in MARRIAGE: “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecc.4: 9-12). Although this text makes no direct reference to HANDS, the Value of Hands in relationships, is implied. The text appears to focus primarily on the marriage relationship, covering the themes of: Rewarding relationship (v.9); lifting and helpful companionship (v.10); marital intimacy (v.11); and mutual defence and protection (v.12).

Universally, to ask for someone’s hand in marriage means to propose marriage to the person. This often includes the idea of the couple committing to binding their lives together – the union of choices, actions, hopes, and desires. In many nuptial traditions, irrespective of culture or religion, the JOINING of HANDS symbolizes the free will to enter into marriage. Some ancient Celtic traditions went as far as conducting a HANDFASTING ceremony or Unity ritual prior to exchanging rings and vows. This involved tying a couple’s hands together with a braided cord or ribbon, or crossing of hands, to symbolize the binding of two lives. This is probably the origin of the common phrase, “tying the knot.”

It is intriguing that some traditions that Christians hold as essential for a wedding aren’t explicitly stated in the Bible: Having a Church ceremony or a clergyman pronounce a couple married; saying wedding vows; or receiving a marriage licence. Yet, these are not unbiblical, because they augment rather than contradict the Spirit of Scriptures: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be JOINED to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen.2:24; Mt.19: 4-6). Before committing to the lifelong bond of marriage, it makes sense for both bride and groom to seek the blessings of God and parents, have the witness of the Church, and submit to ‘higher powers’ of government through the issuance of a marriage certificate (Rom.13:1).

Interestingly, Jesus’ first recorded miracle was not in a synagogue (church) wedding but in a Wedding Feast – more like a Reception Party! However, one rite that is universally practised, is that of Joining the Hands of the couple in marriage. Both the Old and New Testaments teach that when the father of the bride is alive, he is the one to give her away in marriage (Exo.22:17). The Hebrew word for ‘giving’ away in marriage was also used when God gave Eve to Adam in marriage (Gen.2:22). Matthew 24:38 refers to “marrying and giving in marriage.”

Thirty-five years ago today, my darling wife – best friend, lover, partner, and Queen – and I, held our slim hands, exchanged rings on our fingers, and shared marital vows to embark on a life-long relationship. GOD, parents, families, and friends, testified to our vows. But among the closest witnesses have been our HANDS! I cannot imagine the last 35 years without the active, caring, and functional witnessing of our HANDS – physically and figuratively. These hands have held, touched, caressed, cared, cooked, carried, given, taken, and toiled together. Sometimes, fingers have been burnt, knuckles bruised, arms burdened, but our Hands have refused to become tired or give up holding on!

Thank God, we have Testimonies of Triumph and Stories of Glory! We’ve had no reasons to raise hands against each other, but to lift them up in mutual Help and in Worship of our God. We’ve been blessed to use these hands to carry our Bundles of Joy – Faith, Maranatha, and Excellence – in babyhood, hold them through childhood, raise them through teen-age, and usher them into adulthood, to begin their own Adventure into Mysteries of Hands in Marriage! GOD in our Threefold cord perfects all Mysteries!

Adetokunbo O. Ilesanmi (Meditations)

Lord, give us reasons to continually offer Testimonies of Triumph and Stories of Glory on MYSTERIES of HANDS in MARRIAGE, in Jesus’ name.
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