Mike Maddox is the pitching coach for the St. Louis Cardinals. I think a pitching coach is the most important coach on the team. He has to know all the pitchers and their skills and their temperament. The pitching coach advises the manager and he also visits the mound in stressful times when a pitcher is struggling and there are runners on base. Coach Maddox has a routine approach; he strides to the mound and places a hand on the pitcher’s shoulder; he speaks softly; and when ready to conclude the conversation he gently thumps the pitcher on the chest.
Coach Maddox knows the value of touch. Without words, a touch affirms his care and connection to the pitcher. He, without words, affirms that the pitcher is one of a team.
Jesus, with his healing touch of the 12 year old daughter of Jairus, calls her back to life. Those who were surrounding her bed had already declared her dead and they laughed at Jesus when he said she was only sleeping.
We never know when our touch may be an avenue for the life giving Spirit of God. Others may laugh at us as we extend a hand to steady a a person in crisis or console someone overcome with grief or to seek peace and justice in troubled times.
As followers of Jesus, we too are called to connect with our neighbors in these hurting stressful times. A simple touch on the shoulder may be all that is needed for another to refocus and return to better life.