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  • Rev. Caroline

Do not touch

On Sunday as part of her sermon, Anita showed us a photo of a cushion in her study. What is significant about it is that it bears the words, “The ten commandments are not multiple choice.” A sentence to make us think, that’s for sure. A comment to challenge us about our behaviour. Do we have a somewhat selective view when it comes to keeping all ten? Can we even remember all ten, in the space of a minute, which Anita asked us to pause and try? (Why not give it a go now?)


Better still, if you haven’t already (or even if you have) listen to Anita’s sermon in full and see for yourself that cushion: Sunday 7 March 2021 – Meadowside St Paul's l/w St Andrew's Online Worship (mspstaonlineworship.org)


Commandments, rules, laws are all around us, sometimes governing our actions without our even realising it. If we’re driving, we stop at a red light. If we were to find someone’s purse in a supermarket trolley, we would take it to the Customer Service Desk (as I once did, half wondering whether I was part of a social experiment with a hidden camera).


Rules, under the guise of FACTS, are particularly to the fore at the moment: repeated encouragement to keep them, news of irresponsible individuals breaking them, alongside the proffering of strong opinions on both sides of the argument.


Jesus often came into conflict with those who professed to keep the law, often through his readiness to engage with men and women who were regarded as beneath contempt by society in general.


In Mark’s Gospel (chapter 2, verses 40-45) for instance, we find our Lord healing a leprosy sufferer. He disregards custom – and, bystanders might have thought, his own personal safety - and actually touches the man.


Now there’s a thing.


Touch.


There has been so much in the media about the ill effects caused by the restrictions placed on touching those we love. It seems to affect all generations, irrespective of gender, ethnic background, locality, education and the rest.


So let us pray.

The arms at arms’ length

The high 5 in the air

They’re not the same, Lord


The hand we cannot hold

The kiss we dare not blow

Comfort us, Lord, in our isolation


The faces on the screen

The antics on the video

They’re not the same, Lord


The much loved face at the window

The cold wind at our back

Comfort us, Lord, in our isolation


These prayers we offer in the name of Jesus Christ

who touched people with compassion

laid his hands on the heads of children

and let his own body be manhandled by Gentile soldiers

all for the sake of the world and its people – your people, dear God

Amen

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