Mark 6:56 – And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.
"To live is to taste and touch, to smell and see and listen to, the good things of the earth and rejoice in them." Frederick Beuchner
Go back with me to the days of Thomas Moore. He lived in trying times and difficult days. We would find the conditions appalling and physically demanding. But Moore had an added dimension to his discomfort. Do you know the touch of wool on sensitive skin? If you do then you know the irritation that can drive you near insanity. But Moore followed an ancient practice of wearing a hair shirt -a shirt made of skins with the hair side worn inward, meant to irritate the skin, meant to cause maximum discomfort, meant to remind Moore and any who chose this life of the hurt, the touch of pain that afflicts many in the world.
Today I'd simply say to Moore that there is enough pain caused by the touch of others that we have no need to inflict senseless pain on ourselves when there is so much real pain to bear. Other touches are desperately needed –
- the touch of love and care and concern,
the healing touch in trials,
the holding touch in troubles.
The church is called to touch the world with the love of God in Jesus Christ who touched us in his life and ministry.
Prayer: Lord God, we are often afraid to be touched, by others, by you. We need an assurance that your touch will not hurt but heal and transform us by the love of Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.