Touch connects us to the world around us. It gives us information: temperature, texture, pressure, pain, and more as we feel our way through the day. Beyond that, touch can communicate welcome, acceptance, and love or exclusion, rejection and violence.
Today’s readings highlight the power of touch. In Leviticus we read the description of the steps of a sin offering. The part that popped out for me was when I read, “he is to lay his hand on the head” of whatever animal is to be sacrificed. There is significance in this touch. Why? It’s a deliberate moment of acknowledgement. Sin, our selfishness, costs something. This touch indicated a powerful transfer, where the sin of a priest, community, leader or individual was literally heaped onto the head of the animal to be sacrificed. When we contradict God’s ways even unintentionally, our selfishness-tainted touch excludes us from all that God wants for us, marring not only our souls and circumstances, but those of the people around us.
In Mark 10 however, we see a wholly different kind of touch. A touch that welcomes and blesses. I fall in love with Jesus time and time again when I see his fierce commitment to make room for the marginalized. The disciples are dead set on keeping the kids and their grubby hands off Jesus. But they couldn’t have it more backwards. Indignant, incensed, angry- these are the words used to describe Jesus ‘reaction to their blockade. People who will get their hands dirty and keep their hearts open for Jesus, that’s the Kingdom!
I’m guessing we’d all like to experience and extend the second kind of touch more than the first. The problem is that the latter comes more naturally. So what do we do?
1. Let’s start by keeping short accounts with Jesus.
· Regularly acknowledging and confessing our selfishness.
· Habitually asking God to give us clean hands and pure hearts.
2. And then, let’s be on a constant lookout for opportunities to spread the Jesus kind of touch.
· Who needs your…
o arms of welcome?
o words of encouragement?
o acts of sacrifice?
o time spent intentionally connecting?
Key thought: “Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.”
Worship Arts Director, Actor, wife of tomorrow’s writer, Lover of purple hair