Our Gospel selection ends today with the crowd that surrounds Jesus and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed. So much of how we heal can and does involve being touched or touching something ourselves. The "laying on of hands' in the liturgical service of healing is representative of this by the individual reciting those healing prayers, placing hands on the person's head (or shoulders). A physical manifestation of a mysterious and holy moment.
We can be touched without any physical component being involved: my heart is touched....he's touched in the head, are phrases that come to mind. But, in all seriousness, we find comfort and can find healing when we are touched. A feeling of comfort, of grace can and does overtake us in those precious moments of a healing touch.
So much of healing can involve emotions: our physical nature is often closely tied to our psychological well being. With the exception of those who have an aversion to being touched, touching can and does help healing: a gentle hug, the holding of a loved one's hand. These are tangible reminders that we are not alone in times of difficulty. Those gentle reminders of having companionship on the way through times when healing is needed are an integral part of the process of coming back from a trauma, or simply accepting the position in which we find ourselves.
The importance and the symbiosis of healing and touch are modeled for us in today's Gospel. Something to keep in mind for ourselves and those we meet on the way today.
Copyright 2011, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Allie, 2009, jfd+