By Vince Antonucci
Touch Me, I’m Sick
Some years ago I was walking through an art museum, turned a corner, and was stopped dead in my tracks. What I saw was twisted, yet beautiful. It wasn’t an actual art exhibit. It was the name of an art exhibit. The name of the exhibit was, “Touch Me, I’m Sick.”
It was a traveling display featuring photographs from Charles Peterson. Peterson was at the epicenter of the birth of grunge music in Seattle in the late 1980’s and early 90’s.
The exhibit mostly contained old pictures of before-they-were-famous grunge bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden. As a fan of grunge music, I appreciated the pictures.
But I think the reason I was so captivated is because the name so beautifully captured the essence of why Jesus came to earth.
There are a lot of TV shows about restoration. Shows where people take a house or classic car or piece of antique furniture that’s seen better days and they work to bring it back to its original condition.
I don’t personally watch any of them since they all seem to involve hammers, and I’m not a big fan of hammers. But there are a lot of restoration shows, and they’re very popular. Apparently, a lot of people are really into restoration.
God is also into restoration.
In the beginning, God created the world and called it “good.” He gave people freedom and influence in his world, and we have created a mess. Watch the news tonight, there’s a whole lot that’s not good.
God the Creator looked down on his broken, hurting world and decided to do the most drastic thing imaginable. He entered into our disordered mess and struggling humanity in order to set things right.
Jesus spent the first part of his life doing what you’d expect God in the flesh to do, creating. He created in his job as a carpenter. (So, yes, if a reality TV show had been made about Jesus’ early years I couldn’t have watched it, due to my no hammer policy.)
After spending the first years of his human life creating with a hammer, nails, an anvil and wood, Jesus transitioned to a creative outlet more in line with his mission, restoration.
This world he created had fallen into disrepair, so he went to work making things right. The world was sick, and he came to touch it. Person by person, encounter by encounter, Jesus touched people and restored them to their right condition.
He gave sight to the blind, cast out demons, fed the hungry, showed love to outcasts, and taught everyone the right way to live. Most of all, he called people back to God. The hearts of the people who called it home were the only messed-up and flawed parts of everything he created. So, Jesus set about winning our hearts back to God.
If you’ve read the Bible much, you may have noticed that when Jesus met people, his request was not, “Believe in me.” Of course we need to believe in him, but that’s not what he’s calling us to.
What he asked was, “Follow me.” Follow me is bigger than belief. Follow me is an invitation into a way of life. It’s an invitation to do the things Jesus did for the reasons Jesus did them. Jesus first disciples set about not just believing in Jesus but living the life he lived. We’re to do the same.
You live in God’s now messy creation. You’ve agreed to follow Jesus. What would it look like for you to join him in the work that he is doing? How could you make wrong things right? How could you touch the sick? How could you win people’s hearts back to God? Perhaps you could:
- Tutor kids in an elementary school in a bad neighborhood?
- Help refugees in your city?
- Visit prisoners and giving them hope?
- Feed the homeless?
- Try to take better care of the planet God created?
- Become a foster parent?
- Pray for and sharing your faith with your friends who don’t believe in Jesus?
- All of the above?
Your mission is to restore this world to God and to his original intention for it. Keep your eyes open for the opportunities God is giving you a chance to join him in his mission. And if you look carefully enough, I think what you see might stop you in your tracks. You’ll see a world crying out, “Touch me, I’m sick.”
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