Laying on of Hands

Laying on of Hands

February 26, 2013
Written by Daniel Hazard

Matthew 8:14-15

"...he touched her hand...and she arose and ministered unto them."

Donna Schaper

My friend took a picture of me getting a massage at a seaside resort.  She giggled as she took it, saying that she couldn't wait to send this back to my congregation.  We both assumed that there was a guilty pleasure involved. Should you choose to join the guilt party, please feel free.  I have a feeling it will be well attended.

The best massage I ever got was the gift of a friend as I went in for surgery to have a mastectomy.  She handed me the gift certificate and said, "Do this as close as possible to the actual time of the surgery."  I followed instructions.  I know you may not believe me but that massage carried me through the surgery, as did friends and family and other congregants and their prayers.  I was carried by the touch -- and the energy exchange that happens in a body when the blocked energy of fear and befuddlement do their damage to our flow.

That massage helped me to be like Peter's wife's mother, who was touched by Jesus in a healing way, such that she arose and ministered unto them.  My unblocked energy can become yours.  That's what happens when energy flows.

The second best was in the laying on of hands at my ordination in Tucson in 1974.  Yes, second best.  There was an energy exchange in that touching, which was not exactly a massage, I know, but enough like it to stretch my point. A sense that the Holy Spirit, bidden, had actually come to the party.  I felt surrounded by human energy but upheld by the Spirit.

The slightest touch, the slightest laying on of hands, can make all the difference in the world. I remember when my husband was very sad about something. I touched his shoulder.  He was able to cry.  What would have happened if I hadn't touched his shoulder?  There would be no release, no flow of the sad energy, no tears.  Tears come from touch sometimes.

When our own gift is blocked, as was Peter's wife's mothers', we really can't be much use to anybody else.  When our own gift is released, oh, my.

Massage and touch are so holy, so good, so delightful that we do them, just for themselves, just for the fun of it, even if all instrumentality is laid aside.  In other words, don't get a massage just so you can minister to others.  Do it for your own energy.  I'm enough of a gambler to imagine some good results.  But if there aren't any or aren't any immediately, who cares?  At least you are not going around blocked and that matters.


Healer, touch us.  Unblock us.  Free us.  Flow us.  Amen.

About the Author
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Check out her blog, Grace at Table, at
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