Posts Tagged ‘laying on of hands’

What is it about the laying on of hands that is so potent that Paul must give warning about it? Some translations imply it’s the implied authority that the laying on hands imparts, but I think there might be more to it than that: it might have to do with power.

I Timothy 5:22
Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.

When the elders or leaders lay hands on Timothy, he was empowered or anointed or sent forth to do the work to which he was called. The people who touched him agreed with this call and witnessed it. They shared some part of themselves through that touch. And with it all, came the “gift” that was his and needed for the work ahead.

On occasion, we still see the laying on the hands in our contemporary churches. Sometimes, it is done to send out someone on a missionary journey or a new project. But more often, it is done in the name of healing. And isn’t it because we want that act to evoke a change? We desire for our health, let’s say, to give strength to the one who is sick. Or, maybe, we can be a conduit for a greater power, that of God Himself through the Holy Spirit within us.

But why doesn’t it seem to work?

Perhaps we lay hands too quickly. Perhaps we have missed the true transaction. Perhaps we should step back and consider why we are reaching out.

The laying on of hands should be intentional. I intend to make my next act more meaningful. I will ask for the explicit participation of the Holy Spirit beforehand. I will prepare my heart and clear my mind and purposefully extend the promise of the Christ.

Who am I to do this? No one, but a follower of the Christ who walks ahead of me and shows the way.

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