Monday, March 23, 2009

Holding hands....

You were pretty as a picture
It was all there to see
Then your face caught up with your psychology
With a mouth full of teeth
You ate all your friends
And you broke every heart thinking every heart mends

You speak of signs and wonders
But I need something other
I would believe if I was able
But I'm waiting on the crumbs from your table
-U2, lyrics from the song: Crumbs from your Table

I've been thinking about a simple gesture that is often absent in the rhythms of our church life...It's the act of holding the hand of someone next to you...whether it be in corporate prayer, or in a unifying act of presence.

Oh, I know theres hand shaking, it's done in greeting...or as a proper hello among semi-acquainted people...but that often seems so cold and impersonal in most instances. It just doesn't seem to embody the true feeling or expression I feel.

Then there's hugs, but they also get redundant, meaningless or become some kind of awkward anti-sexual endeavor: the pat on the back, the side hug, or the equally odd lean forward, butt out, absolutely no boobie touch thing. It's comical to watch and looks dumb...but I know it's a creation of fundamentalist fear of igniting sexual experience within the holy place. So we play out these mannequin like gestures of supposed intimacy or implied affection...in the end, we miss it more than express it.

I find myself aware of the isolation that is present in the crowds of worshippers. People have internalized the "Jesus & me" religion and now journey alone in churches. Sure we gather but it's more often the back of someone's head not their eyes that we are getting to know.

The act of reaching out and holding your neighbor's hand is a act of community. It's an expression of the fact that we are in this together. The road ahead is one that we will face as a family. It's sacramental in the sense that I connect with Jesus in you and you with Jesus in me. It's a reflection of identifying His Presence among us.

It's a humble confession of need. I need the person next to me...not just the songs and words being offered from the front.

I plan on finding ways to enculture these values more and more in my own life and the life of our community. It's a step...a far cry from the call of scripture which tells the church to exhibit a greater visibility of love when it encourages us to:

Greet one another with a holy kiss.- 2 Corinthians 13:12

But we got to start somewhere...
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