Does it hurt here?
No doctor, it is over here a little more to the right side.
Okay, can you pull your shirt up and let me see that spot? No, I still can’t see it. Adjust your camera a bit, or have someone hold it for you. Okay, that is better. I see it now. Now hold your phone close to the place of pain so I can know what medicine to prescribe for you.
So here we are. I feel a lot like the TV preachers and healers who advocate healing by touching the screen. Telemedicine is both a boom and a bomb. It is, unfortunately the way of the future. The downside is the doctors who are being educated today will be less inclined to get their hands dirty. In an effort to be safe, we will maintain a distance from the sick. The medical professionals of the previous centuries sat with, touched and became exposed to very diseases of the people they served. They cared for them on a personal, close-up basis.
Touch the screen to get healed. I prefer not to get my hands dirty. And after all, you are too dirty to touch.
Jesus had a ministry to the whores and lepers. He never distanced himself from the unclean, unsavory and unsightly. Paul Brand writes
“I have sometimes wondered why Jesus so frequently touched the people he healed, many of whom must have been unattractive, obviously diseased, unsanitary, smelly. With his power, he easily could have waved a magic wand. In fact, a wand would have reached more people than a touch. He could have divided the crowd into affinity groups and organized his miracles–paralyzed people over there, feverish people here, people with leprosy there–raising his hands to heal each group efficiently, en masse. But he chose not to. Jesus’ mission was not chiefly a crusade against disease (if so, why did he leave so many unhealed in the world and tell followers to hush up details of healings?), but rather a ministry to individual people, some of whom happened to have a disease. He wanted those people, one by one, to feel his love and warmth and his full identification with them. Jesus knew he could not readily demonstrate love to a crowd, for love usually involves touching.”
In an age of social distancing, and wearing masks, of course we must be cautious. But we must also be aware that we are making it clear to the people we serve that we don’t want to know their stories, feel their pain and frustrations. That unfortunately, is the future.
Isaiah 53:4 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. Like one from whom men hide their faces, He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. 4Surely He took on our infirmities and carried our sorrows; yet we considered Him stricken by God, struck down and afflicted.