A God with Skin

Once upon a time, a little boy had trouble falling asleep. His father read him one story, and then another, and he still couldn’t fall asleep. Finally, his father was getting tired and said, “It’s time for me to go to bed.” The boy responded, “I don’t want to be alone.” His dad replied, “You aren’t alone. God is with you, right here.” The boy cried out, “I want a God with skin.”

What do you think it means for God to have skin?

Now we are entering Holy Week – we’ve waved palms of celebration like a Super Bowl parade or a birthday party – but soon everything changes. We hear of Jesus being arrested, going to jail, and then put on a cross to die.

I don’t fully understand what this is all about; Jesus, the best of us, the holy one, the son of God, suffering and dying, alone and friendless…

But, I do know how it feels to be alone. I know how it feels when no one understands how I feed and to be sad and not know how to get out of it. I know what it’s life to be afraid, to have hurt people I love, and to face my own imperfection, time after time.

And then I wonder, “is God with me?” I need a companion in the struggle, I want a “God with skin.”

There is a phrase, “skin in the game” – have you ever heard that? What do you think it means?

“God has skin and God has skin in the game.” I think it means that God is as close as the person sitting beside us, touching us with love, and that what happens to us really matters to God….God feels our pain and rejoices in our happiness.

God isn’t somewhere else, nor has God abandoned us….God is right here in the joy and sorrow of it all…

Now, when times get rough, I don’t always know what to do, and so I pray and I listen to other peoples’ wisdom. When my dad got very sick, I didn’t know quite what to do. I was an adult, about 45, I think, and I lived in Washington DC and he lived in California. I flew across the country every few couple months to visit him in the nursing home. I always felt bad and kept my distance – it was too painful to see him lying in bed and no longer the man I once knew.

And then I read something about a son getting into bed with his sick father – you see we are all children, when we’re sick – and so I, crawled up beside my dad and just lay there awhile. My skin was there. I was near. It was loving touch.

I think that’s what holy week is about – wherever we are, God is with us….God is with us when we feel bad; when we feel happy; when we celebrate and when we get angry….heart to heart, skin to skin, love to love…..Wherever you are, God is with you, beside you, because God has skin!