Me, Paris Hilton, and a Wicked Time in NYC

paris hilton 2

Its in the hands… Its all in the hands…

As many of you know, I recently returned from New York City. To be honest, it was perhaps the worse timing imaginable, barely recovered from a nasty cold, but for Christmas I purchased tickets for my wife and kids to see the Broadway play Wicked, and there was no rescheduling. In the end, it was incredible and such an enjoyable experience. The play was magical, and we all were so spellbound by this prequel to the familiar Wizard of Oz story, that we each decided we all wanted to read the novel from which this play were based.

The whole adventure was a very special – albeit a short – getaway for my family. We drove the car to New Haven, hopped a train and two hours later we were at Grand Central Station. From there we made our trek to our hotel – about a mile away on foot – smack dab in the middle of Times Square.

We had so much fun just exploring this crazy part of NYC. It is said that approximately 3% of the adult population of this country lives in NYC, and it seems like every last one of them was in this 4 or five city block section on or about Times Square. With the explosion of neon and noise, it is as if you are stepping foot into another world. It is certainly a world filled with millions of sermon illustrations.

While there we shopped at a Hershey Superstore, rode a Ferris Wheel inside a massive Toys R’ Us, and spent several hours watching the world from inside the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, a Forrest Gump themed Cajun restaurant. We walked Madison Avenue, Broadway, and watched ice skaters at Bryant Park. We saw the New Years Eve Crystal Ball, and we even explored the New York City Public Library.

One of the highlights we had on the trip was our exploration of Madame Toussards wax museum. I would like to share with you some of the pictures of that particular adventure…

Here am I with:

Jennifer Anniston:


And James Bond…


Preaching with the Pope and the Dali Lama….


Me and Regis…


Crooning with Elvis


Mickey Mantle


Me and Evander Holyfield…


And me chewing out Eli Manning for his beating up my Pats in the Superbowl…


And of course there was Paris Hilton….


As I was working my way through the museum, I took a while before I could approach these statues without feeling a bit of anxiety – irrationally thinking that they would jump up at any moment. It probably had a great deal to do with <this video> I saw a few weeks before my trip (note: there are a couple of NSFW expletives in it) but it took a long time before I was able to move about without that hint of worry.

In the end, it was something I did when I approached those incredibly life like statues that eased that bizarre worry;

I glanced at the hands.

I looked down at the hands and was instantly reaffirmed about the lack of life in the statue. The artist – whomever they may have been, possessed enough skill to create such life like representations – but missed every single time when it came to the hands…

Now,…the funny thing was, after leaving the museum, I overheard the girls having a conversation about not only how cool the statues were…but how fake the hands looked…

The more I thought about it, it makes perfect sense.

Our hands say something. I know every inch of my wife’s… I know Sophie has the softest hands in the world. I also know that Annie’s fingers are calloused from playing the Bass, but still they are gracefully long and perform a neat ballet each time she plays.

The truth is…I can look at someone’s hands and see a life time of work, knowledge, and struggles. The hands seem to possess a character and life all their own.

I remember an art class when I was teenager where the artist teacher told me, that skill is not measured in how you can capture recognition through drawing another’s face, but instead, in how much you can capture their likeness through their hands. I never mastered that ability, which probably accounts for a lifetime spent in statistics, spreadsheets and numbers rather than ink and paintbrushes, but I can understand the sentiments.

There is a truth that says expression and recognition may be found in the face, the eyes, or the mouth….but ultimately life is found in the hands.

In the end, the same thing is true for faith. Faith is seen in our hands. Life is not seen in what we preach, or how we sing, the condition of our pews, or the stains on our carpets. The life of the church is seen in the wrinkles, cuts, and calluses’ of our hands.

Our faith finds life in the work of our hands; and in the call to be the hands of Jesus to this community.

That happens when we are not afraid to get them dirty.

That happens when we are not afraid to get muck under our nails,…or even break one.

That happens when they grow wrinkled from both struggle and our continued labor.

That happens when we extend a hand, and offer the invitation to another.

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