I share this because this past Sunday I invited people to hold hands with the people near them as we said the oft repeated phrase: The Lord be with you. And also with you. I did this knowing that this would be a welcome invitation for some and an unwelcome invitation for others. We all have our degrees of comfort and discomfort when it comes to physical touch. I’ve had people tell me that they appreciate holding hands in church especially since, in one woman’s case, this was the only time she held hands with people. Another woman, in citing why she appreciates Ash Wednesday said, ” It’s one of the few times, with baptism and last rites, that the clergy is required to touch the penitent.” Other people have told me that even the simple act of holding hands can trigger feelings of anxiety or even worse. I hope no one felt forced to participate, and I hope no one got clawed. And I hope that no matter our comfort level with physical touch in church, we can appreciate the words to this lovely hymn found in our blue hymnal # 93: Lord, bless the hands that share with us. And bless the hearts that care for us. Now hear this simple prayer from us. Amen. Amen.
P.S. People have told me that I need to figure out a solution to my incredibly cold hands. What say you physicians at Rainbow?