The city I visited was very nice. Beautiful scenery. The helping staff at the hotel and the restaurants were nice and went out of their way to be helpful and polite. But the customers were a different matter. I saw people scream at staff members on two occasion, simply, I assume because they could get away with it. Not cool.
I went walking every morning in perfect weather amidst beautiful landscaping with tall fir trees and lovely flowers of every hue. Lots of other people did too. But none of them looked at me, much less said hello like we do here in Oklahoma. I’m glad to be back.
Around here, when I encounter someone who looks down and stays quiet, I assume something might be wrong, so I make sure to catch their eye and say, “Hi, how are you?” Because I really want to know.
At church, I hug, pat shoulders, or shake hands with everyone I encounter. It’s partly me. I’m a toucher. It’s also them--most people need a touch. Sometimes a person doesn’t want to be touched. It’s not hard to tell, and I respect that, but most people like the contact.
Jesus was a toucher. He could have healed every sick person he encountered with a word, or a blink, or even a thought. But usually he touched them, even the lepers. Especially the lepers.
We come to church for the contact with each other as well as with God. We could stay home to worship. We can turn on the TV to hear some preaching and listen to music, and for some, by necessity, that has to suffice. But there’s something healing about the physical company of others. It’s allows for a fuller experience of the Holy Spirit’s presence.
Everywhere we go, we have the chance to heal or to harm. We can bless or we can curse. I opt for blessing when I can. I try to avoid hurting others and I hope others do to. But I hate being ignored and I hate ignoring anyone who crosses my path, whether it be on a walk, at the hotel, or on a plane.
Or at church.