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Talk Notes: Physical Touch (8th Oct ’17)

(click here to listen to the talk)

Love Languages of God

Physical Touch

We are spending 6 Sundays giving space to the idea that God passionately, irrationally, unrelentingly and freely loves us.  Since it’s easier said than understood or grasped, we’re using Gary Chapman’s concept of the 5 Love Languages to help us think about God’s love.

Today, in our final week, Si is thinking about Physical Touch.

He looked at the story of Jesus healing the leper in Matthew 8:1-3.  Simon talked about how leprosy was the highest level of uncleanliness. To have leprosy was to be totally defined by this disease. You stop being a person and you become your disease. No one sees beyond this and no one treats you differently.

Even the leper sees his identity as his disease. He doesn’t ask, “Can you heal me?”  He asks, “Are you willing?”  No wonder in Mark’s account of this healing he writes that Jesus was indignant.

So when people look at this guy they don’t see a person. They just see Leper.

Apart from Jesus.

Jesus reaches through the “what” to touch the “who”.

Jesus healed in many different ways; through a command, through asking people to wash in certain places and so on. But most often he did it through physical touch. And perhaps it is most dramatic here – when he touches the untouchable leper.

When the early church starts to practise the works of Jesus in their lives they use physical touch – they lay on hands and physically connect with others. God values physical contact as it requires us to be close to each other.

And now, with the Holy Spirit living within us we can become the touch of God to others.

And through the Holy Spirit we can experience God’s touch through our emotions.  In fact brain scientists have proved that physical touch, or lack of it, directly effects our emotions.

Si ended looking at the Parable of the Pearl in Matthew 13:45-46. He asked us to interpret the Merchant as Jesus and we as the pearl; to reflect on just how much Jesus gave up to reach us and how precious we are to him.

Some things consider:

  • How important is physical touch to you? Science now shows receiving physical touch is essential to good health. Where do you physically interact with people during the day? How can you make the most of these opportunities?
  • Have you physically felt the presence of God?  What did it feel like? How has God touched your body or your emotions? What was going on?
  • Make some quiet space and invite the Holy Spirit to touch you. What happens?

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Posted on 9th October 2017
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