“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.“ John 14:27 (The Message Bible)
In my church, we do the sharing of the peace before worship. Some people shy away from hugs, handshakes, and you can tell eye contact makes him or her nervous. It is in the eye that one can see pain, joy, and peace. The handshakes show strength, comfort, and a welcoming spirit. But it is the hugs I like. I can’t get enough hugs in my day.
Virginia Satir, a family therapist wrote, “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” I think of those who live alone, those walking wounded that we find sleeping on the streets, and those so damaged by a relationship that never get a hug.
One Sunday morning during fellowship time after worship, several members walked around with a sign on their chest and back that said, “Free hugs.” Perhaps I got more than twelve that day and grew six inches (in spirit).
Dear Lord, let us look for opportunities to embrace those who need a hug and those who need one, but won’t open their arms. Amen.