MU Devotion Wednesday 1st July

From next Monday, two households will be able to join together in something resembling normal life. We will be able to go into each other’s houses, share meals, stay overnight and finally to touch. For those of you living alone, over three months of not feeling the touch of another human being must have been so hard. Because touch says things that words just cannot express. Touch lets us know that we are loved. Touch lets us know that someone cares for our wellbeing. Touch give us the strength to keep going in the face of adversity. Touch can bring about healing in ways not easily explained by medical science. Touch fundamentally make us feel human.

Jesus had the power to heal by speech alone, as we see when he healed the centurion’s servant without ever seeing him. But the majority of healing miracles performed by Jesus involved touch. There are the individual miracles described in detail where Jesus touches the part of the body affected, eyes, ears, tongues. The miracles where Jesus takes the hand of the sick and indeed deceased and brings them back to health. We also hear in the verses which link these specific miracles of how, by touch, Jesus healed many in the crowds who came seeking his help. These people often only wanted to touch some part of Jesus, even just his cloak. They had such faith in the power of touch that they did not feel the need to be touched in return.

Some of the diseases Jesus healed made the sufferers ‘unclean’ such that no one in their communities were prepared to touch them for fear of becoming unclean themselves. Our experiences during lockdown have given us a glimpse of how lonely they must have felt. Indeed, how lonely, and unwanted many people in our communities feel. The homeless, those with dementia or mental health problems, those living in extreme poverty who possibly cannot access warm water for washing. Those who live permanently without friends or family. People who long for the warmth of human touch. Jesus showed us no one is too lowly to be touched when, much to the indignation of those around him, he took the little children into his arms and blessed them.

When we touch others, we do not have the healing power of God. We do not bring the skilled hands of a physician or surgeon. We do not even have the years of training of a psychiatrist or psychologist. We just intuitively know how to share warmth, love and compassion with a gentle touch, a soft hug, and a warm kiss. I pray that each of you will be able to share the experience of touch with a family member or friend after the new regulations come into force next Monday. Although what my youngest daughter wants most, is to cuddle her sister’s dogs!

Sent to you with love and prayers.

Revd. Sandra