Into July and here’s the wisdom for this week.
10:25 Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
10:26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?”
10:27 He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”
10:28 And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”
10:29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
10:30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead.
10:31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
10:32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
10:33 But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity.
10:34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
10:35 The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’
10:36 Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?”
10:37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
“Your hands made and formed me.” – Psalm 119: 73
The whole concept of touch is undergoing a major transformation. First there are the prohibitions. Children are taught, rightfully, to notice if adults touch them in their private places. Pastors are encouraged to both be warm and to hug and to be warm and not hug. Massages grow in popularity as gifts. People pay for foot rubs and manicures as well as massages. Somehow the exchange of money for high touch services makes the touching “touching.” We speak of being “touched” by this or that, meaning that something was so good that it tore off our masks.
In the psalm we get another version of touch. God made us by hand. We are hand-made. We are not mass-produced. We are made like the woman who crochets, afternoons, in the corner of the nursing home, that place where most people’s arthritis has caused them to put down their knitting needles, but where somehow her hands prevail. God enjoys making us, like she enjoys row by row. We are made like slow food is, slowly, lovingly, custom-designed. God makes us to be enjoyed and to taste good. We are sculpted. We are not without form but with form. We are beautiful, not ugly. We are touched by the divine who probably made us because she was bored of an afternoon and decided to do something fun with her hands. Or because he wanted to have some company in the kitchen. Why God made us we don’t know. That God made us we do know.
On Pride Sunday, two members of our congregation – our first moderator under 30 and a cradle UCC person and her husband – brought glitter nail polish and offered free manicures. Godly behavior, I think.
Thank you for touching us, O God.
The present form of the world passes away,
and there remains only the joy
of having used this world
to establish God’s rule here.
All pomp, all triumphs, all selfish capitalism,
all the false successes of life will pass
with the world’s form.
All of that passes away.
What does not pass away is love.
When one has turned money, property,
work in one’s calling
into service of others,
then the joy of sharing and the feeling that all are one’s family
does not pass away.
In the evening of life you will be judged on love.
Source: The Violence of Love