The Power of Touch

Touch by Robert Couse-Baker.jpg

Scripture Reading: 2 Timothy 1:1-14 (NRSV)

There is a longing that people have to be touched. It is ingrained in us from our birth. In fact, premature babies that end up in natal intensive care units are found to grow and improve more rapidly with gentle touching and skin-to-skin holding.

Watching Trey hold Sloane at lunch on Sunday reminded me of how my own children touched my face so often when I held them. Touching is fundamental to us.

When both of my children were born, I was able to wash them for their first bath. I remember gently holding them and gingerly putting the cloth on their skin. I think I probably took a long time for the task because I was afraid that I would be too rough!

My own parents gave me plenty of hugs growing up and as they grew older in recent years, I realized that they needed the hugs from me. Prior to their deaths, it was important to see them and touch them each day.

As I think about how we ritualize touch, I remember my wedding day. When we join hands in the ceremony, it is a formal acknowledgement of the relationship. At the end of the ceremony, the permission to kiss publicly is a declaration that this romantic touch is now validated and even encouraged by society.

As an ordained pastor, the bishop laid hands upon me. Bishop Blake implored as he did so, “Samuel, take authority as an elder to preach the Word of God, to administer the Holy Sacraments and to order the life of the Church, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

Today when praying for someone in the hospital, we touch the person with whom we are praying for healing.

In the scripture reading today, we hear the importance of the laying on of hands. This is done to rekindle the sense of mission in the people of God. In verse seven, we shrug off cowardice and replace it with power, love and self-discipline. But this comes within the Christian community. It is done when we hold hands and create a circle of prayer together. This binds us together. This clarifies our purpose. This allows our mission to continue through the generations.

I hope you’ll join us on Sunday as we worship together. My hope is that you will renew in yourself your own sense of power, love and self-discipline which are life-giving!

In Christ,

Sam

Follow Sam’s Blog at www.precedinggrace.blogspot.com. Photo by Robert Couse-Baker via Flickr.com. Used under the Creative Commons license.