Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Touch (the sense of touch) (08/05/10)
TITLE: Angel Witnesses
By Beth Muehlhausen
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An angel of healing, Raphel, looked down on the Sunday morning flock gathered at River Rock Christian Fellowship. His companions - Raziel, an angel of mysteries, and Rhamiel, an angel of empathy - flanked him on either side.
“Aren’t they beautiful, gathered together to worship the Lord and implore Him for healing?” Raphael remarked.
“Yes,” sighed Raziel, “as their submissive hearts jointly find such compounded pleasure in His mysterious presence.”
“I agree,” Rhamiel chimed in. “But their motivation? COMPASSION. That’s what’s especially meaningful to me.”
As the three watched, a dark-haired woman in her 40’s named Rochelle stood before the congregation with clasped hands. Her hazel eyes looked downcast in abject submission as fifty-some others walked forward and surrounded her. From the angels’ elevated view, she seemed the center of a flower in full bloom.
The hands of those closest to Rochelle lay gently on her shoulders, back, and arms. Other fellow believers formed concentric rings that flared outside that first circle as their hands touched those standing in front of them.
“From our vantage point the configuration looks almost like a huge multi-colored zinnia,” Rhamiel suggested, gazing at the flower-shaped group. “They’re connected, like petals – true unity in the Spirit, manifested in the flesh!”
“Laying on of hands, in a unique sense,” Raphael added. “See how their faith - and the power delivered through it - multiplies and spreads toward Rochelle with each touch?”
Raziel seemed characteristically sensitive. “Isn’t it phenomenal?” he said, his voice choked with emotion, “the way the Lord works in such deeply mystical ways?”
Meanwhile, Rochelle’s eyes remained tightly closed as those surrounding her bowed their heads. Spiritual electricity seemed to pass from hand to shoulder, hand to back, hand to arm, until it collectively reached the broken woman standing in the center.
For years, Rochelle had battled with fear. Although she sought help from a variety of professionals, none of them seemed able to treat the foundational cause of her pain. On this day she finally disclosed her anguish publicly in an act of submission to her Lord. The response was one of outspoken support from a congregation that well understood yielding and resurrection.
As they scanned the crowd, the angels recalled various testimonies.
“Look, there’s Mara Jones,” said Rhamiel. “Remember when this same group showered her with compassion and then she was able to extend it to her alcoholic husband?”
“Yes, and there’s Thomas Wright, that scientist who spent hours looking for analytical answers for his probing questions only to find God’s sovereignty to be enough,” added Raziel.
“Oh! Over on the other side … there’s Donald Cobb who was slated to die of heart degeneration ten years ago!” exclaimed Raphael. “He rode his bicycle for two miles this morning before coming to church!”
The three angels locked arms and clasped each other’s hands as if inspired by the scene before them.
“What do you think the mood is like down there?” Raziel asked.
Raphel seemed quick to answer. “Active and expectant! Their hands are ALIVE,” he said with authority.
“Of course,” Rhamiel agreed. “The very act of reaching out speaks volumes.”
Various people surrounding Rochelle prayed in turn until finally an elder closed. “Lord, we place Rochelle in YOUR HANDS. Touch her; restore and renew her!”
As the angels watched, the human flower configuration transformed into something fluid and moving. While Rochelle continued to stand still as the center, the petals shifted, much like the colorful flecks in a kaleidoscope. As individuals returned to their seats many stopped to hug Rochelle or grasp her hands in passing.
“Physical touch is so critical,” Raphael said. “It speaks more than words, and carries more than sentiment. It is a conduit of healing …”
“It’s also evidence of empathy. A self-absorbed person won’t even bother to touch others,” Rhamiel added.
“Yes, and we all know touch is a mystery … cells come in contact with other cells, and something cosmic is released …” Raziel murmured.
Finally Rochelle stood alone once again in front of the congregation. Raziel’s voice diminished to a sentimental whisper. “How brave!”
But Rochelle spoke boldly, with tears shining in her eyes. “I’ve been touched this morning, not only by your hands, but by God’s mercy and grace. I am changed in ways I can’t begin to understand or explain. Thank you.”
As Rochelle walked to take her seat among her extended family of faith, applause erupted from the same hands that had so recently blessed her.
And the angels cheered.
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