Wednesday, January 20, 2010

30 Days of Touch -- Purse

I held a purse this morning. That's not something I usually do. I don't carry a purse (even a man bag) as a rule, so that made this morning's touch a bit extraordinary.

How I came to touch a purse was out of the ordinary, too. My friend Cynthia was visiting the Center for Congregations with a group from the Capitol Region Theological Center in Albany, New York. As I came out to greet her and her fellow travellers, she held out her purse to me. "I brought this for you to feel," she said with a wink. The group of staff people and her friends at the CRTC looked quizzical. "You know why, don't you?" Cynthia said to me. Indeed, I did. One of the by-standers said, "Why?" So Cynthia said, "Well, Brent's writing this series called '30 Days of Touch' so I brought him this to touch. Now he has something to blog about today."

That's how I found out who the person is who reads the blog. It's Cynthia!

And that is how I came to be standing outside the conference room of the Center for Congregations fondling a deep green velveteen clutch with a rather elaborate flower of the same material and color attached.

It did not go with my outfit today at all.

So I handed it back to Cynthia after enjoying the lushness of the velveteen and the chuckles of the others standing there. The purse was pleasing to the touch. And that Cynthia thought enough to bring it for "inspiration" also touched me.

As the day has gone on, I thought about other purses ... notably ones in the Bible. Not all of them are good. Such as the sinner's in warned against in Proverbs 1. Beware those who say "let us all have one purse" -- they are up to no good. And Jesus sends his disciples out with "no money in their purse" and indeed, makes a fashion statement when he says (in Luke) not to carry a purse (about the only "commandment of Jesus that I have faithfully followed all my life).

Of course, the most famous purse in the Bible is one that is implied, but not called a purse -- the Samaritan's purse. The one that good fellow dipped into for funds to care for a stranger. Which reminded me of all the strangers who need me to dip into my purse -- most notably this week, the strangers of Haiti., hit again today by aftershocks.

While green velveteen may not be my style, I am glad again that Cynthia brought hers for me to touch -- and remind me to touch my own. And while touching it, to draw out some of what's in it and help those in need.

-- Brent

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