In one of my many Zoom meetings recently someone mentioned there was a survey of what church attendees missed most in this new world of Pandemic and Zoom, or where ever they were attending online services. The list was: 1 HUGS, 2 coffee and cookies after the service, and 3. sitting at the table with a small group of fellow parishioners, and chatting about the everyday things.
I am a hugger, I love Hugs and personally think there is never a point where a person could have too many Hugs. Medical science has completed studies showing that good mental, and physical health is enhanced by Hugs. I wonder if more people (especially the elderly) would have survived the virus if they had not been isolated, and thus received no physical touch by anyone, and especially anyone they loved.
Which brings me to the story of our Sunday school class. Our Sunday school class dwindled down to a half a dozen regular attendees before the virus closed the church. After a month or so of not seeing these much-loved faces and sharing, I reached out and everyone was for meeting over Zoom. Not everyone was able to attend but most were and so we meet once a week on Thursday and it has become my lifeline. We open with a line of scripture, We read a paragraph from a book “Life Together in Christ” and then share how the scripture and the reading from the book relate to our lives today. We meet on Zoom for the forty minutes that are free. Others pop in now and then, and we take delight in one members brand new granddaughter who grandma is babysitting, and we get to watch grow every week.
I have shared with everyone I know, that I am keeping track of lost HUGS and the number is over 5 billion 756 thousand today. I am blessed that I am closest to God when outside, on my knees, pulling weeds. The spiritual practice of sitting outdoors listening to the early morning prayers of the birds, or the angels singing through the pines quiets my busy mind, and softens my heart. Some days just staring out the window as I enjoy the wonder of God’s creation fills my soul. But that need for human contact still calls to me. I will not live long enough to forget how precious a Hug is, when once again I can be face to face with all these people, I hold so dear. And who knows sometimes when we are first able to feel safe, a complete stranger.
The thought for the day is reach out, call someone your congregation address book is a good place to start, join or start a Sunday school class, or book club. Any group you can find or think of. Human contact is good for your mental and physical health.
No it is just not the same, it is different, well from what I am reading we are not going to be together, in person for some time. And what it will be like then most likely will be a new normal. So we need to be as close as we can now, fill those lonely days with the voice’s on the phone, and the face’s on our computer. May God bless us all with shared moments together in a pandemic.