It is nice to hear someone say to you, “Make sure you stay in touch." You might be leaving to move to another place or to go on mission somewhere overseas. Whatever the occasion, it is good to be invited to stay connected to those who tell you to stay in touch.
Touch is such a powerful thing. Babies need touch. The effect of a hug is wonderful. However, others use touch to abuse and the refusal to shake hands is hurtful. How we are touched makes a big difference.
In a time of pandemic, the message is not about touch but about not touching., It is about self-isolation and staying at home. The result is that we have become more aware of our need to “be in touch.”
We notice in the Gospels how many people were healed through Jesus' touch. The woman, who just touched the hem of his garment, was also healed. Warmth, love and affection are conveyed by touch.
Social distancing has affected the way that we work. Part of the joy of work is to be able to meet and be with other people. Now that we are having less face to face meetings, we notice that we are missing out on the energy and the nourishment of being with and working alongside our co-workers.
We have moved to Zoom, Teams, Skype or WhatsApp. Yes, these are ways for us to stay in touch but it is not the same. We have to concentrate more when using this way of connecting, and we miss the fun that is part of most meetings. There are benefits in that we do not have to travel for meetings, and we do save time, but as a way of staying in touch it is not the same as face to face meetings. Social distancing is distancing!
Being on mission means staying in touch with people. It means reaching out to other people. It means forming new communities of connection around the world. Our vision of the world and its peoples is like that of God's. We are in touch with God and our universe and gradually we come to know this deeply.