I went for an early walk in Battersea Park this morning and tried to smile and say, “Good morning”, to a few solitary people. I got one grunt back! People with masks can’t be seen smiling back so it felt a very isolating walk. Beautiful though, and I loved the birds being so vocal.
2 metres between people is a physical distance. I’m happy to keep that sort of distance for the sake of my health but actually I need social nearness and that can, in part, be met by a cheery:
“Good morning” returned…
Or a smile.
I’m reminded of the woman found in Luke chapter 8: 43-48. This woman had been bleeding for 12 years. She was judged as unclean and as such untouchable. She had been both physically and socially distant from others for a long time. The current 3-month isolation for some of us would seem like a walk in the park to her.
What does she do when Jesus passes by?
She enters a crowd anonymously, reaches out and touches him.
She touches Jesus and he knows it because his healing touch was transmitted. Why does he stop the crowd and call her out? Why does he expose her?
I believe he was concerned about her social status and interaction. He wasn’t just interested in physical healing. He was restoring her publicly to social inclusion and nearness.
I think I need to touch Jesus today!
PS. I recommend Canon J. John’s article: