Thursday, October 6, 2011

Now that's therapeutic touch

The Daily Office gospel for today, Matthew 9. 18-26, tells about a ruler's daughter who has died.

The ruler comes to Jesus and begs for her life to be restored.

Isn't it interesting that this ruler, perhaps not a Jew, shows more faith than people of Jesus' own faith tradition?

He's willing, indeed eager, to rely upon the Lord and Jesus' power of salvation. Reliance is a way of understanding faith.

Do we show that equal level of reliance upon the Lord? Sometimes, I do, but many times I don't. I want to do better.

When Jesus arrives at the ruler's house, the wake has already begun. There's flute music, and I can hear that mournful tune being played, much as the Scottish bag pipes produce that wailing sound, that deep cry of a pierced heart.

He passes through the mourners, telling them them the girl is not dead. He knows what he will do, that in his hands and at his touch, there is no death, but only life. He finds the girl and takes her hand in his.

Her smooth hand is cold, lifeless, until that touch of the love and power of heaven to heal, which is Jesus' by way of his Father.

And she lives.

She rejoins her family and and resumes her life, but in a new way now, for her life has been transformed by Jesus and his touch. She knows that he holds the power of life in his hands, and that she lives because of him.

He is the Lord, even over death. As Welsh poet Dylan Thomas puts it, Death is no more.

As I read this gospel during Morning Prayer today, I found myself asking a question, perhaps one posed by God the Holy Spirit:

Lord Jesus: What in me, what in my relationships, what in this world is dead and is in need of your life-giving touch? I receive your touch now, Lord, and extend your therapeutic touch of love and life to others.

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