Ryan, T. (2015). Our pathway to God: Touch. Compass: A Review of Topical Theology, 49 (2), 2-9.
In literature speaking of touch, prayer and God, the text most often used is one cited in the previous article on Sight in this journal. In 1 John 1:1, the witnesses of the incarnation say how 'we...have touched with our hands...the Word, who is life.' This underlines what is more explicitly stated in the Prologue of John's Gospel: 'The Word was made flesh, he lived among us, and we saw his glory, the glory that is his as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth' or in Paul's comment that 'the full content of divine nature lives in Christ, in his humanity' (Col. 2:9). These texts highlight how touch is immediately associated with embodiment, of God embodied in Jesus, and of the central role materiality plays in revealing the glory of God.
Similarly, recourse was earlier made to Augustine: 'you touched me, and I burned for your peace.' The response to God's touch, for Augustine, is marked by its affective quality. He is moved by the divine gesture. More importantly, once aroused his whole person feels impelled to respond with deepened desire and intense devotion.
In the light of these texts, touch, perhaps uniquely amongst our senses, engages us in our identity as embodied beings, in our vulnerability, in the relational aspect of personhood and in faith as a knowing of God. Let's explore these.
knowing God, touch, embodiment, personhood