Numerous times Jesus touched people even when it would make him ceremonially unclean. He touched a man with leprosy and was healed Mt. 8:3. Jesus touched Peter’s mother-in-law and her fever left, Mt. 8:15. A woman subject to bleeding touched Jesus and the bleeding stopped, Mt. 9:20-21. He touched blind eyes and were opened, Mt. 9:29, to name a few.
People in general crave connection with others and physical touch is one of our instincts. We are born with the need to be touched. In fact, we are hardwired for touch. Studies have shown that physical touch boosts the immune system, improves our psychological well-being and literally saves lives.
What does touch communicate? Love, concern and acceptance. Touch is so important that infants who don’t receive enough touching and or don’t grow up in an affectionate home are likely to have developmental and behavioral problems. Touch helps us connect with others through emotions. Also, our mind, body, and brain are all interconnected. Touch sets off biological changes in our brains. It benefits those who are depressed, the aggressive adolescent and the elderly. Touch releases oxytocin, a hormone that regulates positive moods and making us feel happy.
Even time petting your dog or cat has a calming effect; it lowers blood pressure and heart rates and calms us down if we are stressed. This in part is why nursing homes may have a ‘resident’ dog or cat. In the past year the sale of pets has soared. A pet dog or cat, or animal of choice, can fill the void of loneliness when socializing is not encouraged or we are told to remain six feet apart.
Most of all dogs want the touch of their master. It seems you can never pet them enough. We are like dogs in that we need and desire touch. Be it from a parent, spouse, child, friend or even God.
God did not call us to live in isolation, but community, not at a distanc,e but together, close enough to communicate through touch. Jesus touches us through an arm around a shoulder, a hug or holding hands. So go ahead and encourage someone and show them you care and that Jesus loves them.
Pr. Bob Snitzer
By the Way: Sunday 12, 9:00 Morning worship, and Holy communion. Sermon: An Evil Spirit
10:15 Sunday school
We will not be changing lights this weekend.