“Your hands made and formed me.” – Psalm 119: 73
The whole concept of touch is undergoing a major transformation. First there are the prohibitions. Children are taught, rightfully, to notice if adults touch them in their private places. Pastors are encouraged to both be warm and to hug and to be warm and not hug. Massages grow in popularity as gifts. People pay for foot rubs and manicures as well as massages. Somehow the exchange of money for high touch services makes the touching “touching.” We speak of being “touched” by this or that, meaning that something was so good that it tore off our masks.
In the psalm we get another version of touch. God made us by hand. We are hand-made. We are not mass-produced. We are made like the woman who crochets, afternoons, in the corner of the nursing home, that place where most people’s arthritis has caused them to put down their knitting needles, but where somehow her hands prevail. God enjoys making us, like she enjoys row by row. We are made like slow food is, slowly, lovingly, custom-designed. God makes us to be enjoyed and to taste good. We are sculpted. We are not without form but with form. We are beautiful, not ugly. We are touched by the divine who probably made us because she was bored of an afternoon and decided to do something fun with her hands. Or because he wanted to have some company in the kitchen. Why God made us we don’t know. That God made us we do know.
On Pride Sunday, two members of our congregation – our first moderator under 30 and a cradle UCC person and her husband – brought glitter nail polish and offered free manicures. Godly behavior, I think.
Thank you for touching us, O God.
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Check out her book: Prayers for People Who Say They Can’t Pray.