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I Wash My Hands in Innocence
Psalm 26

In the Episcopal church, when we move from the first part of a service, which focuses on the reading of Scripture, to the celebration of communion, someone pours a little water over my hands as the priest and I say some words from Psalm 26: “I wash my hands in innocence so that I may go about your altar and tell of all your wondrous deeds.” The practice, going back to the time of Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem in the fourth century, means a lot to me, because telling of God’s wondrous deeds (in this context, telling of Jesus’ Passover celebration with his disciples, his dying for us, and his rising from death) is a responsible activity, designed to glorify God and be a blessing to his people. In the same century, John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, mentions a practice whereby everyone washed their hands before going into church for worship. We all need to be prepared for listening to this story. Our church has a bowl of holy water just inside the door for people to dip a finger into and cross themselves, which can fulfill a similar function...

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