There are wise and kind words here not only for a pastor, but for all of us with elderly parents and relatives.

The benediction that we pronounce today with hands uplifted is a symbolic expression of the minister touching his people… Jesus understood the importance of touching those to whom He ministered. Very often, when He healed people, He touched them. We see a beautiful example of this in Matthew 8… Jesus not only healed the leper, He touched the man. Jesus ministered to his physical need and also to his need for human contact. People today need that touch. That’s why an important moment in church on Sunday morning is when the pastor interacts with the worshipers as they depart. I tell my students in the seminary that there’s an art to greeting people at the door after the church service. It’s vitally important for the pastor to extend his hand and at least offer to shake hands with every person who comes by. Some will walk right by, but the vast majority of people want to stop and shake the pastor’s hand. If that person is an elderly man or woman, and especially if it is an elderly widow, the pastor should never, ever shake with one hand. He must take that lady’s hand in both of his hands. Why? It is because she needs that special touch, because she experiences loneliness. In giving her that tender, loving touch, the pastor is being Christ to the people, giving the Master’s touch in His name to people who are afraid, or who are lonely, or who are hurting. People want to be touched, not in an evil sense, but in a tender and merciful sense, in a human sense. -R.C. Sproul, A Taste of Heaven, p.165-66

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