Hugging loved ones is a much-missed casualty of the pandemic says Sheffield reverend

Are you missing having a hug? There has been a lot of talk about this in the media over the last week – they even managed to source a hug therapist.

Friday, 11th September 2020, 4:45 pm
Hugging loved ones has been a much-missed casualty of the Covid-19 pandemic says the Reverend Jonathan Haigh

Hugging shows the human need for personal contact with others.

Being without the ability to hug – or even be in the same company of those special to us – has been detrimental to our mental and emotional wellbeing.

There have been some weird and wonderful ways to try to beat the hug deficit.

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The Reverend Jonathan Haigh

One person created a hug glove, someone else adapted a shower curtain on a clothes line so they could embrace a loved one, while a grandma got into an inflatable dinosaur costume so she could give a hug to her grandchildren.

I’m not surprised this is the case. God designed us to need the loving touch of another.

God made Himself real to us in Jesus.

Face-to-face encounter, touch and embrace are at the heart of God who offers us His love and tenderness.

There is a beautiful verse in Psalm 85 vs10: “Unfailing love and truth have met together. Righteousness and peace have kissed.”

In God’s unfailing love there is no such thing as social distancing!

Often when people speak of having a personal encounter with God which has changed their lives, they use language which suggests that they feel like they have been hugged from the inside out and the result has been a tremendous sense of love and peace.

It is like a spiritual hug.

Last week, I had a socially distanced meeting with a member of my church who hasn’t been a Christian for a long time.

I asked her if she still felt close to God, despite us not meeting physically together.

She told me that she had been reading her Bible and listening to worship music and her eyes lit up as she said to me: “The Holy Spirit is in my bubble.”

What a wonderful way to say that she had received a virtual hug from God and knew that she was loved.

The Reverend Jonathan Haigh is a minister at Victoria Hall Methodist Church, Sheffield city centre, and Greenhill Methodist Church – see greenhillmethodistchurch.com for more information.