Matthew 8:2-3 – A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. (NIV)
Matthew 8:14-15 – When Jesus came into Peter's house, he saw Peter's mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him. (NIV)
In the course of two months, I have had two separate illnesses, which had me pretty much bedridden with fevers. I realize that I had been ill before that and had been trying to let my own immune system handle the problem for some time. In other words, I haven't been quite myself for a while. I recently recovered to such an extent that I am reacquainting myself with my own personality, as creative ideas begin to resurface, and I feel that I have the energy to pursue them. I began to embrace the land of the living again. Emotions seem more intense with this refreshed energy.
Right after this recovery, the sermon on social justice that Sunday morning so deeply affected me that I was overcome with an urge to embrace the minister and his wife upon leaving. I was moved with the burden of issues which they had been carrying on their hearts, unknown by the rest of us. Even a hand on the shoulder seemed too much for them, as I was struggling with deep feelings I couldn't quite identify. I felt like I had committed a great taboo in even contemplating more than a shake of the hand.
The following day, after a meeting, I attempted to give a goodbye hug and kiss on the cheek to an elder I have known since I was a child. Her husband had died this past year. But the act seemed appropriate only to me. She pulled her head away so the attempted kiss on the cheek could not be planted.
With these two events in mind, I looked up today's scripture verses.
Jesus touched the man with the intent to heal. He touched the hand of Peter's mother-in-law to heal her. Jesus had a need and a desire to heal. That was His intent. He didn't say He would go home or go to a mountaintop to pray, when He was present right before a person.
Some of us are chronic huggers. Some of us are offended by hugging at any time. Others of us muddle along somewhere in between. But our focus must not rest there. What we need to embrace at all times is the pure intent in our actions for that special moment of healing touch and blessing.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, You gave us Jesus with the intent that He might touch our lives. He did, and continues to do so. Awaken our hearts and minds to know how to touch one another with the same quickening power of the Holy Spirit as Jesus had. Amen.