Coming empty-handed to God

I’m reading a gem of a book called The Spiritual Landscape of Mark by Bonnie Thurston, a Disciples of Christ (that’s Churches of Christ in Oz) minister who lives in productive solitude. She looks at the Gospel of Mark through its landscapes, such as desert, sea, mountain. There are so many helpful things in this book! This one arrested me:


It is a great and terrifying truth that God can only fill the hands of those who approach God empty-handed. Jesus says ‘Blessed are the poor’ for a reason, and it isn’t economic.

So many gifted people come to God wanting to use ‘their’ talents in their way, and theirs alone. Hands that are full can hold no more. Let’s allow God to fill our hands this Advent.

Years ago, we used to sing a short song called Empty, empty. I remember the words and the tune—but I haven’t got the music any more. Wish I did! Here are the wonderful lyrics:


Empty, empty,
I come empty
to the bleeding Lord.
Empty, empty
hands before me,
fill them, living Word.

In the mystery of the water,
mystery of the bread and wine.
Bind me, bind me,
fast and firmly
to the Crucified.


Let us be empty, as Mary was empty. Let us be filled by the Spirit of God, who longs to bring Christ uniquely to birth in us.


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Filed under church year, reflection

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