John 13:1-17; 31b-35

Touch, he touched every foot. Knelt at their feet, got down below each and every one and touched, washed, healed. Was it to give them this place as a reference because they all run and scatter after this? I loved you and love you still because I touched you. We are a society which does not touch. Personal space, oh you might get in trouble for that. We teach it to our children early. "Don't touch each other, keep your hands to yourself." Yet touch is so healing. It was one of the things I missed most when I came back from South Sudan. The intimacy of touch.

Jesus gives this to his disciples tonight. Whether it is in John's version of washing the feet or being gathered at the table in the synoptic gospels. Touch is vital to this last gathering. It will reach out beyond the hurt and betrayal and bring these men back together again. Mary understands this early on. She is the one who on Monday in John's gospel anoints Jesus' feet with the pure nard she extravagantly bought. It becomes a debate. Should this have gone to the poor and Jesus has none of it. It is a gift of love and now Jesus returns it to the disciples.

Touch. Our children do it naturally when their young. They touch everyone and everything. A good cuddle when they are hurt, the open arms when we have been away, even just to work, the bursting love of friendship because their emotions are so full. Then they grow up and we yearn for just one piece of time in that childlike love with them.

Touch. Its one of the things so important in healing, especially in the hospital. More than the people who come and poke and prod, no someone to hold hands with. Someone who stays and listens to your fears, hopes, dreams or just someone who stays period and doesn't touch and run off. Touching heals, it helps us know we are part of more than just an experiment. It helps connect us to the community outside the insulated institution which is making us well. It is key in a swifter recovery.

Touch. It is one of the things which older people yearn for. Their significant others have died, moved away and they are alone. Touch helps them know they are still loved, still valued, still apart of the community. Touch was one of the things we talked about in class because it is vital when people age to be touched. Touching connects us still to the world beyond us even when we can't travel far anymore.

Touch. I'll never forget washing my friends body. Preparing her for the coroner. The way we were able to say good bye gathered around and loving her one final time. It was intimate, it was healing, it was what Betty would have wanted. We knew this, it was a powerful part of our own healing and saying farewell.

Touch is what Jesus gifted us with tonight and we shouldn't take it lightly. These next days are the most difficult. They symbolize all of our own difficult days. So come, touch one another, be healed through the washing. Let your soul be replenished. Your parched places watered. Come and be touched by God's healing love made evident in Jesus. Kneeling and touching, not being afraid to be intimate and realize the healing power of touch in this last supper.