Across the world, news of the pandemic seems to have become a norm months later. Here in New Zealand, there is a sense of relief and even triumph as we went weeks without an active case of Covid 19. The occasional cases that popped upkeep us on our toes as we live with this new normal.
One thing that has changed for a lot of people is being so cautious about what we touch. We are keeping our distance where possible and constantly washing our hands. Who has not squirted sanitizer into the palm of their hands at least once in the recent months? A mingling sense of cautiousness and fear finds us being wary about cleanliness.
The clean church
The phenomenon has not passed by the church. Signs for social distancing, hand sanitizing and generally being alert about your health are plastered everywhere. Surely this is a good thing, some will argue. After all, we have a responsibility to make sure that we are socially responsible as a church.
We do not want to be known as the church that flouted rules and ended up with a cluster case. Or even worse, cases that resulted in deaths! But where do we draw the line of being overly paranoid and allowing the church to minister as it was made to do?
I often wonder about the woman with the issue of blood in Luke chapter 8 when I think of being in isolation and unable to be in contact with others. Imagine 12 long years of dealing with a condition that would have set her apart. And not in a positive way. She would have been terribly lonely if we refer to the laws in the Old Testament.
“When a woman has a discharge of blood for many days at a time other than her monthly period or has a discharge that continues beyond her period, she will be unclean as long as she has the discharge, just as in the days of her period. Any bed she lies on while her discharge continues will be unclean, as is her bed during her monthly period, and anything she sits on will be unclean, as during her period.Anyone who touches them will be unclean; they must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening” (Leviticus chapter 15, verses 25-27).
Like the nations today scrambling in a search of a cure for a virus that has turned the world upside down, she “spent all she had on doctors and yet could not be healed by any” (Luke chapter 8, verse 43).
No one needs to know
Take a moment and think about how this woman would have felt when she heard about a man that healed all kinds of illnesses. How eager she would have felt to be in the company of this person that showed compassion to the outcast. How overwhelmed with desperation she must have been to be in the presence of One that not only radiated hope but gave it so freely to a suffering soul.
“Just one touch, no one needs to know” this poor woman must have thought as she “approached from behind and touched the end of his robe”(Luke chapter 8, verse 44). Oh, to feel joy as she was instantly healed, fear that she was promptly discovered and wholeness as she heard Jesus say, “your faith has saved you. Go in peace” (Luke chapter 8, verse 48).
No lockdown for a touch of Jesus
Is the church showing that same hope, grace and peace to the desperate right now? Or are we busy trying to figure out how to make the next Zoom meeting more exciting? Are we consumed by worry about losing congregations and tithes?
Of course, it is healthy to navigate the church and help it thrive through these unprecedented times. I am not asking churches and Christians to break laws or isolation rules.
But it is also necessary to look at the plentiful harvest that is seeking for something more and to point them to Jesus. There is no lockdown period for the command of the Great Commission (Matthew chapter 28, verses 18-20). Share that message of hope with those reaching out for just one touch of Jesus.
Mussita Ng is a follower of Jesus Christ from Wellington, New Zealand. Her previous articles may be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mussita-ng.html