The Gift of Touch

When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him.  A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy Matthew 8:1-3

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When our friend Ken was sick this year we went to visit him, to pray for him and yes, to put our arms around him. Jesus often is found touching others. When the disciples were ready to send the children away it says that”…He took them in His arms, placed His hands on them and blessed them.”

There is something about touch that transmits the love of God. In nursing home ministry we need to remember that people are often longing to feel the touch of another person besides their nurse, or their physical therapist. A while back I can remember bringing one of our grandchildren along for my weekly visit to the nursing home. At that time he was about six years old  and feeling a little nervous about going with Poppy. When we came in, I began to introduce him. I thought that maybe if he could shake hands and say hello it would help him to feel at ease. No sooner did I start but one of the ladies in the circle put her arms out to him and when he came up for a hug she swept him off his feet and put him on her lap!

I worried at first, but after a few nervous seconds he settled down and sat with her for the first ten minutes of our meeting. He was finding out that our “ministry” had as much to do with snuggling on someone’s lap as it did with singing the hymns. While I was leading in prayer, he was giving a touch that said, “You are important. I trust you. I am happy to spend time right here with you.”

But you might say, “Oh Pastor Pete that’s okay for you because it’s your ministry.” But if you know one person among your neighbors who is a shut in, or in nursing care; if you have a family member of if you know someone from your church in long term care, it can be your ministry too! You do not need to go every week, or to join a group that sings in your local nursing home. Maybe you can just go to one person this week and give to them the gift of touch. God has called us to be the arms of Jesus touching someone and giving His blessing today!

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Arms of Love – Kutless

Even to your old age, I am He, And even to gray hairs I will carry you!                          I have made, and I will bear; Even I will carry, and will deliver you      Isaiah 46:4

“Though most of my visiting ministry has been to nursing homes, I have also had the privilege to visit some people who just don’t get out a lot. One of my dearest friends was William and his wife Quina who I affectionately called “Mom and Dad”. Over a period of two years William who slowly lost the use of his arms, then his legs and became confined to his recliner One of the things William loved the most was to whistle to his little parakeet friends. Near the end of William’s life his family filmed a brief video of two of his buddies singing on his chest singing while William whistled. For all the sadness around him, no matter what the situation, William made time for fun!”    Peter Caligiuri  from “Would You Do It For One”

Little friends

William is now with Jesus held there tightly in eternal arms. I have often thought of those visits and treasure those times. Today William is now with Jesus held there tightly in eternal arms and I am so glad that together with his family and even his little birds I was one part of being God’s arms of love to carry William.