For two decades Bell Telephone, and later AT&T, promoted themselves through a campaign with the slogan, “Reach out and touch someone.” One particular spot shows a sad clown calling his mother and transforming into a happy clown, followed by toddlers smiling when they hear a voice on the phone, and a grandmother calling her family, and a marching band crowded around a phone booth to speak with a bandmate who broke a leg. The point was that reaching out to loved ones can change their lives, at least if you do so over a Bell Telephone line.
The point is a valid one: we need to reach out and touch people. We’ve always had outerunrivaled in society. Victims of contagious diseases, the homeless, the mentally ill, the aged, the jobless, the working poor… are all left behind in post-Christian America.
There were no untouchables in Jesus’s mind. He ate dinner with folks considered the dregs of society. He made disciples of tax collectors. His best friends were crude fishermen. He accepted praise and offerings of women of ill repute. He asked assistance of a woman who had had several husbands and carried on affairs. He touched a leper.
If we want to live like Jesus… If we want to be Christ-like… If we want to reach the lost, then we too need to reach out and touch those that may seem untouchable. We need to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, shelter the homeless, find help for the mentally ill, spend quality time with the aged, minister to widows and orphans, and visit the imprisoned.
We need to offer a tender, loving touch to the untouchables.