Dearly Beloved,
Grace and peace to you.

      A leper came to him begging him,
      and kneeling he said to him,
      “If you choose you can make me clean.”
      Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out his hand
      and touched him.

                     –Mark 1.40-41

Who are the lepers who beg for our compassion,
whom no one will touch?

Are they the prisoners, who frighten us, or nursing home folks?
Those who are depressed, or transgendered or angry,
the drunk mumbling in the doorstep,
the guy with the cardboard sign at the stoplight,
the dying, before whom we stutter and stall?
The mentally ill, kidnapped from their own minds,
that we are afraid to speak to?
The kid with piercings, tattoos and blue hair,
immigrants who any moment will be hauled off,
people who are chronically poor and grumpy about it?
Who are we afraid to touch, to be touched by?

Don’t think we have no Untouchables
in our closely guarded caste system.
They live within you.
We are the ones with the dis-ease, who afflict them
with our refusal to reach out to them, to connect, to admit
that we are just like them.

What healed the leper was no magical power.
It was the willingness of a compassionate heart
to embrace.
We can do miracles in this world
with our own two hands.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

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