Latter-day Saint Life

Why I Didn't Want to Wipe Away the Hand Prints on the Windows of My Church


Recently I was visiting another church for a meeting when I noticed tiny handprints on the glass doors. I had time to spare and my first thought was to grab a rag and some Windex and wipe them off.

Instead, I sat in a nearby chair and stared at them.

How old were the prints?

How old were the kids who left them?

What was happening just before the moment of impact?

I answered the questions by allowing my mind to wander slowly to any Sabbath morning.

A mother and father ready their wild gaggle of children for church.

A single mom struggles to get her little ones dressed, fed, and to the chapel on time.

A teenager comes with a younger sibling while their guardians guard the couch and television.

The day’s service, classes, and the joyful singing are all glorious. All ages at their own level learn, worship, and grow.

At the end of the meetings, hungry, pint-sized disciples of Christ wait patiently — or not — for the family to finish their foyer chats and hallway how-are-yous.

Wait! Just another two minutes. Because someone hasn’t hugged Ann yet, or maybe Penny or Deborah or Dolores.

No rush. Someone else still needs to check with Chris, Larry, Paul, or the other Paul about this, that, or whatever is happening on Wednesday.

Naturally, while they wait, small hands pass time by making their mark on glass that belongs to God.

Isn’t it beautiful?

I confess my mind wandered even further that day. My thoughts flew all the way to places like Galilee, Gethsemane, and Golgotha.

I pictured the hands of the Savior of the world. Miraculous. Loving. Forgiving. Pierced. Bleeding. Scarred. Revealed.

They’re never hidden. His prints are everywhere!

His prints are on His scriptures, His gospel, His people.

They’re on my life and yours, if only we’ll allow them.

His prints are especially on His most beloved of all — little children.

Soon I was focused again on those dirty prints on an otherwise clean, pristine glass surface.

How gorgeous, I thought.

Loving families worshipped together.

Children were encouraged to sit still for a moment, to listen, to sing, to pray, to worship.

Where else would Christ want children on His day than in His house?

I know those prints are probably gone by now, wiped clean by well-meaning adults who rightfully desire to keep the Lord’s building clean and tidy.

But I hope they didn’t rush to wipe away the evidence that God’s children were right where they needed to be: learning about the holiest hands in history and why those prints still matter all these years later.

And yes, leaving a few prints of their own while they wait.

For you. For me. For Him.

Lead image from Getty Images.
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