Recently, Donald Trump received quite a bit of criticism from the progressives, of which I include myself, because he was shown receiving a laying on of hands by conservative Christians. This criticism is unwanted, even by liberals, as myself.
Laying on of hands is a very serious ceremony, done by people all over the world.
Sue Monk Kidd tells a story about when she was a nurse and entered a dying man’s room; unable to say anything, she just sat with him and laid her hand on his shoulder. He thanked her for that healing touch. He needed human contact at that moment.
I have been the recipient of a laying on of hands twice in my life. When my wife and I moved from New Jersey to Virginia, the minister at our church in Summit called us to the front of the church to recognize our thirty years of service to the church and then asked the entire congregation to engulf us and lay as many hands on us as was physically possible. I have no idea how many hands were on me, but the feeling that entered my body was something I had never felt previously. I was so moved, that tears filled my eyes. And that is not easy to say, me being a former Marine.
The second time came as a surprise also. We were in Virginia and I had signed on with a wonderful woman, who was my physical trainer at our local gym. After working with me for about a year, she planned this with my wife. We joined her at a healing service at a local church. She told my story, and those present surrounded me and prayed over me in a laying-on-of-hands ceremony. I was very moved, but it being a surprise, I really could not relax enough with strangers to realize the full impact of the service.
I am presently a prayer minister at our church in Fredericksburg. During communion, I sit in a secluded corner and any of my fellow parishioners, who need an additional individual prayer, will come and share his or her need with me. After listening carefully, I ask permission to lay my hand on a shoulder and proceed to offer an intercessory prayer, done with my hand placed gently on a shoulder. Having been a recipient of this prayer corner, myself, I know how comforting and reassuring this is.
In all instances, we are only doing what Jesus did in most of the healing stories in the New Testament. He laid his hands on the person, and immediately this ill person was cured. I am not saying that our present ceremonies will heal as Jesus did, but with our prayers, we are offering our care receiver to God with the hope that a healing touch will help healing proceed.
One more example: I am a hugger; I believe that a proper greeting for friends is a hug, regardless of the gender. I hug many men in my life. This human contact establishes a strong relationship between people. I believe that these hugs are replicas of the laying on of hands. Hugs and similar practices reassure people that they are loved for themselves, no matter who they are – – – even Donald Trump.