Rambling for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch Newsletter 10 October 2021

I confess to a little conceit, which is invisible to all but Leisa. For most of my adult life, my handkerchiefs (for any pedants out there, handkerchieves as the plural is archaic) have borne the monogram, R. In the days when I wore suit jackets, I would sometimes sport a breast pocket handkerchief, coloured or patterned, to match my tie, but the monogram would be artfully hidden. What brought this to mind is that one of those very old handkerchiefs died during the week. It predates Leisa, is riddled with holes from overseas hotel laundry staple-tags, and is threadbare. It’s the first one which I have brought myself to throw away, though (reverently disposed is the preferred term).

 

There is an instance in the Bible of a handkerchief being associated with resurrection, new life, not  decay. The familiar story of Lazarus in John 11, you know it well: His sisters tell Jesus that if He had been there, their brother wouldn’t have died. And then when Jesus orders the stone to be rolled away from Lazarus’ tomb, everyone says “Yuk, he’s been dead for four days, he’ll stink”. But Jesus summons Lazarus to come out of the tomb, and he does, “his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth round his face.” That word, cloth, soudarion, σουδάριον, is exactly a handkerchief. It pops up in a few other places, notably in Acts 19 where “God did extraordinary miracles through the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and the diseases and evil spirits left them.”

 

See? Nothing is too humble or everyday to reinforce that Jesus is the resurrection and the life, and that God works extraordinary miracles. (Monograms optional … )

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