4th Sunday of Easter, 3rd May 2020

Thought for the Week - Hugs

During the Government at the daily press briefing this past week a member of the public asked – ‘when can I hug my grandchildren again?’ As we move into the seventh week of lockdown this question is so moving in its simplicity and because of the lack of a clear answer.


Physical contact and touch is so important – from birth onwards we know how vital it is to be held. How can we live well through this time without the touch we used to take for granted – the handshakes, pats on the back, the hugs?

So many of the Easter stories tackle the idea that Jesus’ resurrected body was not a ghostly apparition but a real person of flesh. Thomas is encouraged to touch Jesus’ wounds, on the road to Emmaus the disciples know Jesus as he breaks bread and eats with them, on the shores of the lake Jesus cooks and shares a fish breakfast with his friends. Jesus death and resurrection point to a new way of being with Jesus but it still includes a physical encounter.

This virus means we’re required to keep away from each other. And while this physical distancing is a sign of our love and care, a way of saving each other’s lives, we should try not to let this turn into a fear of all physical contact. As we move into another stage of lockdown we will still not be able to freely touch one another. How can we stay positive about our physical selves, not fearing our bodies or seeing each other simply as virus transmitters, remembering we are human beings who need touch to survive and thrive?

You don’t need to be told to contact those you love using phones, video calls and all the other fantastic ways we have of keeping in touch. I also want to encourage you to take care of yourself as a physical being, a body. You might do this with a nutritious meal, a brisk walk, run or bike ride or a warm bubble bath. Also try and get a hug at least once a day if that’s possible and safe. We must respect the power of this virus to damage and kill, follow the guidelines to prevent the spread, but let’s try not to start to fear our bodies or one another. Just as Jesus’ resurrected body revealed the strength and power of love over death, it is through one another that we too can know God’s love, a love we need to show and share now, more than ever.

Revd Canon Rachel Wood

30.4.20


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