The human touch

I have heard the word ‘patriarchy’ used more times, more aggressively, this week, than ever before. The public square is reverberating with gossip, outrage and ethics. The present affair is belittling and tawdry. Whatever we might think, sexual harassment did not begin with Harvey Weinstein or with a few excitable MP’s; the abusive consequences of sexual harassment had its origins when humanity revealed its genesis. The recent Hollywood/Westminster scandal is not unique to any group, tribe or institution in this ‘enlightened’ age. It was ever thus – not that we should ever condone such behaviour.

The creator God makes humanity in his image. God’s imminent touch awaits our response.

We may well believe that virtue is in chaos, if we were to acknowledge the media circus as representative of the human condition. A theological perspective provides a wider lens and a deeper history than this present clamour allows. The human touch pervades our civilisation, it merits the good and marks the ill-willed members of our society. The human touch can provide assurance, bring reconciliation and share the joy of physical embrace. This touch is a divine quality, one that Jesus shared in his short ministry. Jesus demonstrated the gift of touch in the healing of the blind, the paralysed, the ostracised, the lame. His was a touch that was nurtured in the carpenter’s workshop. His hands were creative instruments, working the divine process of restoration and transformation. When God touches us, he gives us life. The most profound experience which Christians can share is that God is present in the world, waiting, for our human touch. When humanity and divinity come together the earth kisses heaven and heaven kisses earth – life becomes richer, truer, deeper.

How do we use the sense of touch in our lives? Might we consider the times when our touch has been less than creative, the times when we have been violent or disrespectful to others. We should go on to reflect how our human touch has been a blessing to others. Making meals for the homeless, cleaning a wound of a child, writing a note of sympathy, clearing leaves from a neighbours gutter, shaking hands with a refugee, laying hands on the sick. These are all the things of divine creativity, promoting virtue in a confused and chaotic world. How will you use the gift of human touch?

On Sunday at St Michael & All Angels, Summertown, we will celebrate the saints of God at 8am & 10am. At 6.30pm we will commemorate our dear departed in an all souls’ remembrance. Please do share the human touch of peace with us this Sunday.

For more information about the church this week, click here.



Author: Gavin Knight

The Revd Gavin Knight has been the Vicar of St Michael & All Angels, Summertown in the Oxford Diocese since September 2011. After serving his title at St Alphege, Solihull, Gavin became parish priest of St Andrew's Fulham Fields in London. He moved to Wales in 2005 becoming Chaplain to Monmouth School. He is married to Jo, a clinical psychologist, and they have three sons.