The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"Willing To Touch"
As we walked into the chapel of a retirement community to conduct a service, Jacob looked up at us from his prone position, lying on the floor. "Come in and join us" I said, "you need to hear the sermon I am going to preach!" Jacob complied, and joined us for the entire meeting.
Yes, that is Jacob the cat, and yes, that is my hand stroking the nape of his neck. A number of pets roam the halls of the particular retirement community I reference. This leads to my story, or rather, my application of the surprising (to those who know me well) occurrence of my touching a cat.
"And it came to pass, when He was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought Him, saying, Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean" (Luke 5:12).
A leper who had not felt a human touch since the onset of disease felt the Lord's hand. How such contact must have thrilled the man by a grace no other would offer. The departure of leprosy from his body then doubtless filled the man's heart with wonder. First, Someone touched his heart with unexpected grace. Then, Someone touched His body with a healing that restored his normalcy of life among the company of other people. We can only imagine the wonder of both aspects of our Lord's redeeming work in the man's life. "I cried unto the Lord with my voice, even unto God with my voice, and He gave ear unto me" (Psalm 77:1).
Regarding Jacob the cat, I had planned to share a message about King David and Mephibosheth. However, Jacob not only joined us in the meeting. He also came up to me at a point in the service, clearly hoping I would acknowledge him with a stroke or two of my hand. This presented a problem. I am allergic to cats. I have not touched one in decades. However, the passage about the leper occurred to me as Jacob awaited my tactile acknowledgement. Petting this sweet-natured cat would illustrate (in a much limited manner, of course) that which the Lord Jesus did for a man in great need. So I reached down and stroked Jacob's head and neck for a moment. I was sitting down at the moment, and he responded by jumping into my lap. This took me aback, but then Jacob looked right into my eyes and said, "Thanks Preacher! I'm looking forward to your sermon!" (well, I think that's what he said).
I had no allergic reaction to the event except for the slightest congestion later in the day (which was likely due to the season more than the feline). I shared the message about the Lord and the leper, emphasizing what it must have meant to the man that someone had touched him. My main point involved the truth that we are all that leper. Our Lord touched and healed our hearts diseased by sin when we believed in the Lord Jesus. He was both able and willing to do for us that which only He could have done. Moreover, in our walk with Him as believers, we sometimes require the forgiveness and cleansing that maintains our fellowship with God. He is more than able and willing to do that also (I John 1:9). Yes, Somebody will touch us when we require such grace and mercy, Somebody who so involved Himself with us that He became as one of us. "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us" (John 1:14).
I'll always remember Jacob attending our service, and even more, jumping into my lap after I touched him. Far more importantly, I remember the Lord and the leper, and the opportunity afforded by Jacob to illustrate that which He does for all who come to Him with the humble, trusting affirmation, "Lord, if Thou will, Thou canst make me clean." He does desire our purification, and He can maintain our hearts in cleansing as we walk with the One, the Somebody, willing to touch us.
"Our Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people."
Weekly Memory Verse
Let us have grace, that we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear.