“ The Light of God surrounds me,
the Love of God enfolds me,
the Power of God protects me,
the Presence of God watches over me.
Wherever I am, God is” [Anonymous poem]
This really struck a chord with me especially as I found thispoem in a devotional book alongside a quote from St. Hildegard of Bingen which says, “God Hugs you, you are encircled by the arms of the mystery of God.”
God Hugs you. What a striking statement and a striking image that is. A great big warm, comfortable, all-round, hug which surrounds and blots out the cares and problems even for a short time. At one of my trainings [I forget which -Readership, Auxiliary or Full time Ministry] it was a new outreach idea to go out and offer a Hug to anyone in the street who wanted one. They even had special jerseys or fleeces made with the message. It was made clear that this was a church activity and done in the name of Jesus.
It was amazing the up-take on that [long before Covid] as people just needed a bit of comfort without any agenda attached. At that time people were more likely to rush past each other than to stop and take time to be pleasant or supportive to a colleague. So many stories were exchanged and so much Chaplaincy was done “on the spot” which was a good thing.
There are down sides. First, not everyone likes to be hugged, some people have a very strong sense of personal space and do not want anyone nearer than a yard or two away from them. Second, getting an offer from a complete stranger, however meaningful that person is, scares people no end. So, though hugs are good and many families and friends really missed that contact and yearned to hug their loved ones again, it is not for everybody.
Back to the quote from Hildegard the visionary, poet, scientist, music composer of the 12th century. She said God Hugs you and that is such a profound statement. I doubt if we really ever thought about the encompassing Love of God, how comforting it is and how we can merge into His Strength. Especially when trouble hits or simply when we are feeling a bit low in spirits. That is the time when God draws near, that is the time when we become more aware of Him, when we really need Him.
If you feel a bit beleaguered just now, or tired, or dispirited, imagine right now the Comforting Arms of God surrounding you. As warm and as supportive as a Hug, keeping out the world and enfolding you in His Love which is so great that we can barely understand it. If you feel that it would be helpful, may I suggest keeping the poem at the top of this reflection in your mind, especially the last line –“wherever I am, God is”. How wonderful is that and how Great is our God?
LET US PRAY
You surround us with Your Love and we thank you that we can find in that encircling of care, strength, comfort and Your Loving Tenderness as You care for each one of us.
Ready to pick us up as we fall or falter, ready to extend Your Deep Love at all times.
May we always have that sense of the Great Big Hug of Love and Forgiveness that refreshes and renews the soul.
We ask in Jesus Name.AMEN
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