Friday, July 15, 2011

God touched me downunder

In my last blog post, I reflected on smell and spirituality. It turned out to be quite a profound learning experience for the class. So, encouraged, this morning I introduced touch and spirituality.

I began with a mediation. I invited the class to think about returning home at the end of the day. To get out of the car. To enter their home. To imagine their lounge, then bathroom, then bedroom. And in each place to look around and consider what kind of things you find pleasure in touch?

I then noted the importance of touch in Christianity – in baptism, during Ash Wednesday, as we say the peace, as we participate in Communion. I noted how Jesus was touched – wrapped in swaddling clothes, circumcised, taken in Simeon’s arms, in baptism, in the passion. And how Jesus touches others – little children, the leper, in bread broken and cup offered.

And then invited reflection on what kind of touch experiences have been important to us in our spiritual journey.

Together we said a prayer

Lord, You knew the touch of love
You knew the touch of friendship
You endured the kiss of betrayal
You endured the crown of thorns
Help us to touch others with your love
Help us to touch others with your friendship
Help us to heal the wounded hearts
Help us to heal the scars and hurts. Prayer from Sense Making Faith.

I then gave out fabric, raided from the home sewing stock. Each person got 4 pieces. (They were allowed to swap if they got stuck.) And the invitation, to express our text for the week (Luke 1:39-45), using their four pieces of fabric. People worked away, some with silk and string, others with weave and fabric.

And then the question for group discussion: What had we learnt, freshly, about the Biblical text? And about ourselves?

Oh my goodness.

We were still going some 90 minutes later, sharing, learning, reflecting. It was a rich, rich conversation on a learning exercise that in some ways was so simple. Yet had become profound.

One conclusion (among many): that as Christians we are “out of touch”, simply because we have ignored the senses in our faith.

A note: The shape of this exercise owes much to some material (pun intended) from Sense Making Faith which is a wonderful resource. For more on how it can be used, not just in a class, but in church and in mission, go here.

Posted by steve at 06:11 PM

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