Love Catches On

Okay, it started with this:

No, no, no…it started with this:

John 13:1-17  
Especially verse 15:
For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.

Hugs – an intrusion into another’s personal space or a welcome reception to the human need for touch?  What is it about hugs?  You either love ‘em or run away from ‘em.

Hugs are apparently universal.  Check this out:

And, then this happened:
Would you hug a machine for a free Coke?   Would you hug a stranger giving away free hugs?  We tried it during Holy Week, the Thursday before Easter (the night known as Maundy Thursday-because Jesus gave the command to love and to serve one another as recorded in John 13.)  So, standing around with signs that said “Free Hugs” in front of a King Soopers and a Starbucks, we decided to see what might happen.

Guess what?  More than 80% of folks took us up on it!  We hugged young kids, men, women, and 100% of the teens.   It was really kind of amazing.

Some of them asked, “Why are you doing this?”  We simply said, “Happy Easter.”  Even folks who didn’t want a hug got a cheerful “Have a nice evening!” and found a smile.

But the biggest surprise of all for me, were the ones who asked if they could join us.   They wanted to be a part of giving away Free Hugs.   We had a terrific group of high school students who joined our team a little skeptical that anyone would really hug them and then kept it going after we left.

And, there were the two darling young children who asked their mom if they could go back (they’d already gone to the car) and help give out free hugs.

May we not underestimate the power of
• unconditional love
• human touch
• free hugs

On this 13th anniversary of the shootings at Columbine HS, I am filled with hope because of these young people who willingly joined us to share a little bit of love to a world they don’t always see as welcoming to them.

It’s the unexpected moments of grace that catch us off guard and transform our lives and our world.   That’s the message of the resurrection.  And it’s REALLY good news!

God bless you,

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