A Tale of Two Hugs

Email Devotion For The Week Following Easter

Rather, let your adornment be the inner self with the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in God’s sight.     (1 Peter 3:4)

God works in mysterious ways indeed.  Last week it was two hugs that I observed given and received by church members.

The first occurred at Sunday worship.  I was ministering communion at the altar rail when a young family came to the rail and kneeled.  It was a festival Sunday and thus was pretty busy at the rail, and for a moment I drew a blank as to whether the youngest child in the family received communion.  She reached out her hand, and I looked at her dad and thought (mistakenly) he nodded yes, so I gave her some bread.  She took the bread … ate it … and looked at her dad with a face of pure utter joy, and almost leapt onto his neck to give him a bear hug of affection for allowing her to receive the body of Christ.  And I realized I my goof.  I always strive to honor parent’s wishes about when their children receive communion, but this time I just missed the cue from the parent.  But God had already turned my mistake into a moment of grace, and when I apologized to the parents later, they assured me that everything was fine, and they were smiling.  And I understood why, as I thought about that hug … the “pure-love” kind a parent dreams about receiving.

The second hug occurred a few days later when I was bringing communion to one of our homebound couples. Because of their respective need for differing levels of nursing care at the retirement community that was their residence, I brought the husband to meet his wife, so that we could take communion in her room.  When we arrived at the sitting area where the wife was watching TV, she was helped to stand by two nurses and she and her husband embraced.  One of them has issues with significant dementia and the other has ongoing mobility issues resulting from a stroke.  But in that moment of embrace, God again stepped into their brokenness, and the beauty and love God has grown during the years of their marriage radiated from them and their words and their somewhat awkward but beautiful embrace.  The physical disabilities that sought to compromise the hug they exchanged with each other was no match for the deep well of love that God had woven into their love for each other, and the shared history of years through which that love had carried them.  I could not tell whether I was crying more than the two nurses, but there was no question that beyond my now blurry vision, I was seeing yet another human incarnation of God’s love right before my very eyes.

The phrase is often heard, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”  But the beauty of these two hugs, and the obvious presence of God in the midst of each of them, reminded me of that One from whom all beauty arises … the same one who has given us eyes to see it.  Keep your eyes open this week for the in-breaking of beauty into your life.  And when it arises, say a little prayer of mthanks to God for that awe-inspiring gift.

 

 

Rev. Craig Ross

Rev. Craig Ross

Senior Pastor

The vibrancy of life here at St. Peter’s makes my service on our staff a joy and privilege. Visitation, teaching and preaching are the ministries that feed my pastoral identity, as together our staff and lay members share in our missional calling … Building a community of faith by God’s grace.

4 comments

  1. Great message, Pastor. Thank you for sharing ‘shared moments’ that not many others get to witness.

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