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  • Pastor Jill

5.18.2020 The Sense of Touch

WORD FOR THE WARRIOR MAY 18, 2020 The Sense of Touch

Here’s an anointed song to begin our day! Reach Out & Touch the Lord by Spirit Word

I quote an article from the Benedictine Lutheran today: It is no secret that much of what passes for Christian spirituality these days has devolved into a "just me and Jesus" kind of spirituality. Individual devotions and prayer are critical components to the practice of our faith, but when there is nothing more, much of the essence of Christian spirituality has been lost. What is lost in "just me and Jesus" spirituality? The use of our five senses. An individualized faith engages in a limited use of just a few senses, such as the use of sight to read the Bible, or hearing to listen to sacred music. However, the use of those two senses is limited in an individualized faith, and there is little or no experience of the holy through the other senses of touch, taste, or smell.

An episode from the Gospel of Mark powerfully demonstrates the importance of the sense of touch. Jairus, the leader of a synagogue, approached Jesus and begged him to heal his daughter through the use of touch: "Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live." (Mark 5:23). While he was on his way to Jairus' daughter, a hemorrhaging woman discretely approached Jesus, hoping to be healed by touching him without anyone noticing: "If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well." (Mark 5:28). Jesus sensed that someone had touched him, and instead of chastising her, he proclaimed: "Daughter, your faith has made you well." (Mark 5:34). He proceeded to go to the house where the body of Jairus' daughter was lying, and "[he] took her by the hand and said to her 'Talitha cum,' which means 'Little girl, get up.'" (Mark 5:41). And the girl arose. Christ did not heal people through waving a magic wand or saying an incantation - he used the sense of touch. The healing power of touch was not just limited to Jesus, as this curious little passage in Acts reminds us: "God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that when the handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were brought to the sick, their diseases left them, and the evil spirits came out of them." (Acts 19:11-12).

Perhaps the most important story in Scripture involving the sense of touch was immediately after the resurrection: "(Jesus) said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’" (John 20:27-28). The importance of touch to the early Church was later confirmed in the opening words of 1 John: "We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life" (1 John 1). The continuing importance of the sense of touch to our lives together as a Christian community is reflected by the fact that many of our most important rites include the "laying on of hands" - baptism, confirmation, ordination, and healing (which also typically involves anointing with oil). Even outside of the Church, the sense of touch can be powerful - sometimes holding a patient's hand in a hospital room, or embracing someone who has experienced a loss, does much more to assist in the healing process than our attempt to console through words. End. Now my turn! To “reach out & touch the Lord” suggests that He is NEAR—so we can converse and connect---see His actions---in faith, in hope, in comfort, companionship, counsel.

Let’s sing to the Lord in closing: Touching Jesus by Walt Mills

Prayer: Dear Lord, we come today & want to “get up close” enough to reach out & touch you. We desire a closer relationship. We believe in our hearts, our faith is growing deeper, but we want more….we want to know you by our 5 senses—seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and touching. We want to see Jesus—in whatever way you should want to appear to us—by visions, dreams, even divine imaginations, we want to hear your voice in our spiritual ears, we want to taste & see the Lord is good, we want to smell the aroma of Christ, and we want to touch you, lay our heads on your breast, and experience the greatest, highest love there is. We ask by faith believing, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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