The thoughts, reflections and musings of an average Church of England Priest
Thursday, 19 March 2015
40 Acts - Bear Hug
"She said to herself, ‘If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.’ Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Take heart, daughter,’ he said, ‘your faith has healed you.’ And the woman was healed at that moment." Matthew 9:21-22 (NIV)
Are you a handshaker, a cheek-kisser or a big squeezer?
After living in East Africa I realised the significance of a true embrace. Walking through a slum community I met a woman who changed my life forever. She had a smile that sparkled, which was remarkable seeing as she had no teeth! After I had been living on my own for six months and searching for God, she truly embraced me. Holding onto me she shared a gem of wisdom, ‘Hold us in your heart.’
Some of us may be terrified that a hug crosses all sorts of social boundaries. Let’s face it, during an embrace we are the same, equals, each of us a pretty messy but beautiful child of God. But what does it mean to hold onto someone?
The moments we discover Jesus has made physical contact are monumental; they are healing moments. Jesus has come to earth to touch lives not only spiritually but physically too. The woman full of bravery who touched Jesus’ cloak had been seriously unwell for 12 years. The scene is busy with everyone wanting a piece of the action; she reached out full of faith and desperate for contact. That moment changed her life for ever; Jesus recognised her bravery and faith and embraced her for who and where she was.
A hug can be a special thing. We are getting pretty good at saying ’I’m fine’ but an embrace can break down the barriers. The incredible word of God became flesh, and yes there were words, but there were serious actions too. God didn’t hold back, so why should we?