And behold, a leper came …And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him… ESV Matthew 8:2-3
People are dirty. They cough into their hands, double dip their chips, pick their nose. They sweat, burp and fart. How many skin cells do we lose every minute? Germs are in our mouths? Fecal matter on our phone? Then we shake hands, make food for each other, embrace and spread our grossness around. All this makes me want to pull away from people, take a bath in hand sanitizer, and lock myself in a clean room. Not so Jesus. When He encountered dirty and unclean people…He touched them.
At our church we did away with the handshaking time…partly because everyone ran for the hand sanitizer. Now we may do away with dipping bread in communion, because some people are dipping their fingers in the juice. I think in the future we will all remain at home and interact over Facebook so we don’t have to be around people. Someone may sneeze on us. Isn’t it interesting that as we crave community and connection, we as a society are pulling away from true connection? Don’t get me wrong, I’m as grossed out as you. I just wonder. I love my kids. But they are so gross. The worst part of parenting is wiping poopy butts, cleaning up vomit, doing sweaty laundry, changing peed on sheets, scrubbing chocolate icing off a grimy face, having a snotty nose wiped on your shirt and above all else…hugging a sweaty child! But at the same time, isn’t that what parenting is all about? In touching our nasty children at these times, we demonstrate our love and build an unshakable bond. Remember it was as Jesus touched the lepers, the woman with the discharge, the blind and even the dead, that He brought healing, connection and even life. Perhaps He calls us to do the same.
Yes, this post nauseates me. But maybe when we shake the hand that was just coughed into, hug the sick, dip our chip in the double-dipped-dip, or drink from a common communion cup, we connect as individuals. Perhaps in those nasty moments we bring healing to others as we accept them in all of their grossness. Perhaps we remember Jesus came and touched us while we were still disgusting. Perhaps His Spirit enables us to do the same.