I’m a hand-talker. I can’t help it. I have often watched the eyes of the person I was talking to try to follow my hand movements rather than make eye contact with me. It’s awkward, but I can’t help it.
Many years ago, 1993 to be exact, I found myself signing on to my own air shift on a popular Top 40 radio station in southern Oregon. I knew, and told myself, “when you start using your hands to talk when you are on-air, you will know you are comfortable doing this.” It took a few months, but one day I realized I was not gripping the edge of the counter as I spoke, but instead, my hands were floating and gliding through the air with every word.
scienceofpeople.com says researchers have found that infants who use more hand gestures at 18 months of age, have greater language abilities later in life. Hand gestures speak to great intelligence.
And Holler and Beatie found that gestures increase the value of our spoken message by 60%! The best, most charismatic speakers and influencers know the importance of using hand gestures. For instance, the least popular TED Talkers used an average of 272 hand gestures during the 18-minute talk. The most popular TED Talkers used an average of 465 hand gestures—that’s almost double! (Source: scienceofpeople.com/hand-gestures)
When you think of hand gestures that communicate, what do you think of?
My first thought is a thumbs-up.
If you close your fist and point your thumb out and up as far as it will go you have just indicated that you are satisfied with something I did or perhaps served, or you are giving your approval to something I did or asked.
What are some others?
How about the ‘ok’ sign. Thumb and pointy finger touching at the tips to form a circle, with the remaining three fingers fanned above the ‘o’.
Raising just your pointy finger could indicate you would like to say something, it could always mean “We’re number one!”
I think of an old family story from the 1960’s. My aunt Vonnie was driving one of her sons somewhere. My cousin was in the front passenger seat and spotted a friend outside of the car. He flashed his friend the peace sign, to which my aunt Vonnie, with lightning speed, reached over and smacked him hard, saying something to the effect of “don’t you ever let me catch you doing that again?”
My young cousin was confused, as you can imagine. You see, my aunt thought the gesture was vulgar. The peace sign, so common now, was a newer symbol, and the older generation had not caught on yet.
It was a rainy day. Easter. 1958. Thousands of demonstrators had gathered in London's Trafalgar Square to march to the Aldermaston Nuclear Research Center. Several hundreds of the protesters held large round signs with a previously unknown sign in their hands: A circle with a straight line running down the middle and two lines running diagonally to the right and left. It was the birth of the peace sign, which has since become an iconic symbol of a worldwide movement opposed to war and nuclear proliferation. British graphic artist Gerald Holtom was commissioned in 1958 to design a logo for the "Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament." During the Second World War, he learned navy flag signal codes, and incorporated the semaphores for the letter "N" (two diagonal lines) and "D" (a straight line) into his nuclear disarmament symbol. Meanwhile, the circle around the lines symbolized the world. (Source: dw.com)
I found another article at christianity.com that said Gerald Holtom wanted to use a cross in a circle, but clergy had discouraged him from doing so. He wished he had “turned it around and faced it up to represent the joy brought by peace.”
When I think of the cross, I don’t think of peace. In fact, I think of war. Jesus’ death on the cross was victory from a battle well-fought. He came to this earth to win our hearts and minds and to put Satan in his place. The battle may still be raging for yet a short time, but the Son of God won the war over 2,000 years ago. He proved to the universe how great is His love for us.
So, what are some ‘peace signs’ from the Bible? Certainly, the Dove and the Olive Branch.
“But the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, and she returned into the ark to him, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her, and drew her into the ark to himself. And he waited yet another seven days, and again he sent the dove out from the ark. Then the dove came to him in the evening, and behold, a freshly plucked olive leaf was in her mouth; and Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth. So he waited yet another seven days and sent out the dove, which did not return again to him anymore.” Genesis 8:9-12 NKJV
That had to have brought such a sense of peace. Noah knew it was almost over. The rain had stopped, the flood waters were drying up. They were still in the ark, but the flood was over.
The Holy Spirit is also described as a Dove coming down from Heaven.
“When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16-17 NKJV
I found dozens of Bible verses on peace this morning. I want to share some of my favorites. These are all the English Standard Version.
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Hebrews 12:14 “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”
Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Those are our key ingredients for peace. We can have peace now, even with, and through our trials. A kind of peace those who do not know Christ, will never know.
C.S. Lewis once said, “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”
I can’t tell you how many times have said, they “have a Jesus sized hole in their heart”. We try to fill that hole with things: money, toys, people. But at the end of the road, and hopefully before it is too late, we will realize nothing satisfied. Oh, maybe for a minute, but not long term. No matter how much stuff, no matter how many trips, no matter how many people, no matter how much money, no matter how big your house, NONE of it will fill the hole that is designed to fit Jesus.
It’s like that childhood toy where you must put the different shaped blocks in the appropriate shaped holes. The star block will never fit through the circle shaped hole. Same with Jesus. We can try with all our might to find peace. We can spend all our money in search of peace, but really Peace is right here, right now, and it is free.
1 Corinthians 14:33 tells us that God is the author of peace. He is our only source for this precious commodity.
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 KJV
by Jeanette Stark – Tuesday, February 7, 2023