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In God's Hands is the 2015 Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent Book. It is a meditation on the infinite love of God and the infinite value of the human individual. Not only are we in God's hands, says Desmond Tutu, our names are engraved on the palms of God's hands. Throughout an often turbulent life, Archbishop Tutu has fought for justice and against oppression and prejudice. As we learn in this book, what has driven him forward is an unshakeable belief that human beings are created in the image of God and are infinitely valuable. Each one of us is a God-carrier, a tabernacle, a sanctuary of the Divine Trinity. God loves us not because we are loveable but because he first loved us. And this turns our values upside down. In this sense, the Gospel is the most radical thing imaginable.
It is extremely moving that in this book Archbishop Tutu returns to something so simple and so profound after a life in which he has been involved in political, social, and ethical issues that have seemed to be so very complex.
The book is small, the print large, and the white space plentiful, but the message is not negligible. The alternately gritty and soothing content nourishes the reader. Tutu (Made for Goodness) weaves the vicious years of South Africa's apartheid throughout this meditation. He deftly balances past with present, drawing from history and the Bible, lacing his message with characteristic humor at human folly and righteous indignation at injustice. In the first part of the book, Tutu addresses the subversiveness of the Bible, the "complementarity" of family, and a God eternally biased toward love, love itself, and grace; he titles the last chapter, "In the Beginning, God; at the End, God." Each chapter ends with discussion questions. Attentive readers will find playful language and rich metaphor that links common language and biblical imagery. For example, he suggests that if humans, God's stewards, do not care for the planet, "it will be curtains for us," but, later, he recalls the biblical "curtain in the temple." Part two is a 2014 interview with Tutu. The archbishop's thoughts are, as ever, simply rendered but profound.