‘O Adonai, Ruler of the house of Israel, who gave the Law to Moses on Sinai,
come to save us with out-stretched arm, Alleluia’

This is a prayer made from a truly humble and trusting heart, that knows its need of our heavenly Father to save us.

The theme of God’s outstretched arm to help his people is found frequently in Scripture and must surely touch us deeply. For example Psalm 97 – ‘His right hand and his holy arm have brought salvation’.

There is something comforting in arms outstretched towards us, we feel needed and loved and this gives us an inner security.
In daily life, we often see a loving mother or father stretch out their arms to save their child from some danger or simply to swoop the child up to give a hug.

When we return from a journey after a long absence, what a joy it is to be welcomed home by a loved one running to meet us with outstretched arms. It cannot be less so with our heavenly Father, he is always, and everywhere stretching out his arms to welcome us and to save us. We have only to reflect on the parable of the Prodigal son in St. Luke’s Gospel (Chapter 15). Who could fail to be deeply touched as in our mind’s eye we watch that loving father run with outstretched arms to welcome and embrace his wayward son. The Gospels are full of occasions where Jesus stretches out his arms, his hands, to bring life, healing and salvation by his divine touch.

During this Advent Season, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, we are surely filled anew with wonder at the depths of love that led our heavenly father with those same outstretched arms to send his only begotten Son as our Redeemer – that Son who some 30 years later, stretched out his arms on the Cross in an immense act of love and died for our salvation.

Such unconditional love means God is summoning us forth with the loudest of calls, stirring up our hidden being, pleading with us to return love for love – ‘I have loved you’ he tells us ‘with an everlasting love, therefore I have drawn you to myself’. How right it is then that each evening before we sleep, the Church invites us, in her night prayer of Compline, to place ourselves trustfully in the outstretched arms and hands of our Father as we pray: ‘Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit’.

O Ruler of the house of Israel, come and save us with outstretched arm.