For three days (Saul) was without sight and neither ate nor drank.
Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem, and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. ~ Acts 9-19
Even the most dramatic moments when we encounter God have an element of the ordinary.
Ananias laid his hands on Paul. He simply touched him and the scales fell from his eyes.
One of the most healing things human beings can experience comes through touch. Think how important it is for an infant to have that immediate connection with their mother - how children who grow up without human connection can suffer in many ways in their lives.
Think how important that hug is with a loved one, or when a lover holds your hand in theirs.
One of the most meaningful things for me that we do at Grace is our anointing liturgy. This started as a separate worship experience called a service of healing, but now it is something we do in worship at various times in the year.
Honestly, nothing feels more meaningful to me than touching the forehead of someone and marking a sign of the cross on it as we pray together. That touch is meaningful to me as I give it, and meaningful to me as I received it.
I've been touched and blessed by the experiences - and sometimes tears - of those who come up for this holy encounter.
It is seemingly such an ordinary thing...and yet the encounter with the divine is perhaps stronger for me than in any other moment I can think of. The holy is there - in the touch, in the oil, and in the blessing.
I thank you God for all the ways in which your touch heals me through the hands of your people. Amen