During the winter in northern Wisconsin the plowed snowbanks along County T piled up just below the sagging telephone lines. As we walked to school, the lines would be singing in the cold. Was that the voices of people talking? And did those lines carry electrical current like the power lines strung high above? Dare we touch the singing lines? We didn’t have a telephone yet, but aunt Elsie and August whose farm bordered ours did have one. It was a mysterious thing attached to the wall with its listening device, crank and speaking funnel. It was almost a thing of God.
Eve first raised the concern of touching the things of God. “Neither shall you touch it lest you die.” At the prodding of the serpent, she touched the tree, ate of the fruit and gave Adam a piece and he ate.
From that time on God forbid touching his things. At Mt. Sinai after being rescued from slavery in Egypt, God directed them to not touch the mountain, lest they die. When the tabernacle was set up during their 40 year journey the priests entered with caution. When moving the worship center, the priests, would carefully cover everything. Only then could the Kohathite branch of the tribe of Levi carry the furnishing of the sanctuary. They could not look on them nor touch them directly.
When David was bringing the ark of the covenant back to Jerusalem, after it had been captured by the Philistines, at some point the oxen pulling the new cart stumbled and Uzzah put out a hand to balance it, and was struck dead.
It is only when Jesus arrives on the scene a thousand years later that people can touch the Thing of God and be touched by Him. He came healing people, forgiving their sins, raising the dead, giving sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf. In almost every case he touched them. People became so daring and hopeful around Jesus, that when they touched him, power went out of his power, not to destroy but to restore health and life. After his resurrection he invited his disciples to touch him and see that he was real and not a ghost.
So today in baptism, we are touched by water containing the Holy Trinity. We eat bread and drink wine containing his body and blood. We are not destroyed but saved, by the things of God.