Building One Another

E. Stanley Ott


April 29, 2014

Dear Friend,

I love the story of the woman who had bled for twelve years and approached Jesus through a crowd. Upon touching his cloak immediately she was healed. As a young person who was just beginning to attend church I remember first hearing this story described in a sermon by Dr. Harry Fifield of the First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta.  

After the woman was healed, Jesus asked, “Who touched my clothes?” She fell at his feet and Jesus, speaking through her anxiety, told her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” Mark 5:34*

Harry let us absorb that for a few moments and then asked a question that changed my life and continues to speak to my heart, “Are you crowding Jesus or touching him?” Are you one among the crowd Sunday morning, merely chatting with your friends, “Hi Bill, Hi Jenny, Hi Marty,” or are you touching Jesus – connecting to Jesus by means of your faith in and following of Jesus?

I recall hearing of a congregation that spoke of three kinds of people: the churched, the unchurched, and the overchurched. The unchurched are people who do not relate to a congregation in any meaningful way, even if they are members of a church. The churched are the normally involved church members.  By their definition, the overchurched are not people who spend too much time in church work. The overchurched are people who experience church without experiencing God.

As one who has spent much of his life in the swirl of church busyness, I find Harry’s question  helps me remain churched but not overchurched. It continues to center me on the Lord who loves me.

Are you crowding Jesus or touching him? May this question center you as well.

With joy - E. Stanley Ott
Copyright 2014 E. Stanley Ott
*Scripture from the NRSV