I have another song in my head. Well, my own made up version of one line of a real song, anyway.
“Jesus makes the untouchable touchable.” It may sound familiar to you, although the original says “Impossible Possible”, but after today, I wonder if I’ll ever sing it that way again without struggling not to say “untouchable touchable”.
Today we are in Tuni, about an hour and a half outside of Vishakapatanam (since few people outside of Tuni know where Tuni is). As we waited in the room where medical care and prayer took place, I thought about how every hand and head we held had been labeled “untouchable” by a cruel and outdated caste system which is supposed to be dead, and actually is illegal, but very much alive in rural India.
Do you know what that is? What “untouchable” means? I know we’ve talked about this before, but it still makes my head spin, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop talking about it. It’s a term used for those born into a life of “less than”. Less than you, me, the dog. A term for one who is born contaminated. Who is one caste step below “extremely backwards”. From birth, those who are not in this class know they are better than this group, and to steer clear of these unfortunate people. It’s a real life game of Cooties but with drastic measures, routine cruelty and unbelievable oppression. It’s Jesus Opposite, is what it is.
In 2009 my daughter heard this term for the first time. She was 8 years old, and we were in India to see some wells, and the people they’d helped. We had gone into a very remote tribal area, which took about 2 1/2 hours to reach by car, truck and motorbike. There was a large group of around 20 of us, and as we waited for our team members to arrive atop the hill one by one, the receiving line of villagers waited in the hot sun. No complaints. I looked down the hill anxious to see my husband and son make it safely to the top where my daughter and I already stood. She had other plans.
Bella could never grasp the term “untouchable” and was obviously determined to fix it, and while we looked expectantly for our team to arrive, I turned to see as she started down the receiving line of children on her own. One after the other she placed her small hands on them. One, by one, by one, without a word, she touched them. Arms crossing over as she walked.
You, you, you, I’ll touch you, and you, now you. You. Nobody is untouchable. Not you, not you, not you.
I watched in silence knowing exactly what she was doing. A fellow team member, Bob… he got it too.
“That one, right there” he said. “That’s our ambassador.”
She still is.
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. – 2 Corinthians 5:20