On this particular occasion I looked at all the generals who were there, and I thought to myself, I must keep my respectful distance here. It is not my place to hug a general.
But as the people began to pass me by, one of the enlisted men, who was a pallbearer, came past me and hugged me. He was weeping, and I hugged him back. The next person by the casket was a general, and when he saw the serviceman ahead of him weeping for the child, tears filled his eyes. When he came to me, I took his hand to shake it, whereupon he reached out, grabbed my hand, and pulled me toward him. I hugged him as he wept. His open humanity gave all the other upper-level military brass permission to hug me.
Hugging generals was never a goal of mine, but I am grateful for the ministry of touch, and I hope you yourselves might realize that touching is one of the senses, and the one that is easiest to appropriate in following your calling. Remember the Prodigal Son; remember the waiting father. When the son returned, here is what the father did:
And he arose, and came to his father.
But when he was yet a great way off,
His father saw him, and had compassion, and ran,
And fell on his neck, and kissed him. (Luke 15:20 KJV)
Welcome penitents with touch.
Comfort the afflicted with touch.
Touch the world, and your compassion will be seen not as the mere pressing of your hand, but a literal passing of the fingers of God on all the woes of humankind.
The world gets well when you touch it.
Miller, C. (2011). Letters to a young pastor. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook.
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