There is a story about a former First Lady visiting Grandma’s House, a home that supports and houses babies and young children infected with the HIV virus – innocent victims. The First Lady played ball and gave hugs to all the children. This visit was meant to help to dispel ignorance and prejudice about being with people with AIDS. At the end of the visit, a young man with AIDS went up to the First Lady. He thanked her for all of the hugs she gave to the children and said that it’s not only the little ones that need hugs, but adults with AIDS as well. Without hesitation, she hugged the young man.
The Easter narrative tells a story of individuals who at first hesitated, but found their way to be “huggers” filled with HOPE: Mary Magdalene, hesitating at the open tomb; Peter when he uttered, “I know not the man”; even the beloved John hesitated at the tomb when he did not go in, but leaned down to look in. They all became huggers as the Easter story progressed. They remembered and came to understand that Jesus never hesitated; he was always the hugger.
When we ponder all of creation, we see that resurrection is unfolding all the time and in these moments we are called to be huggers. Suffering and death are intrinsic to all resurrections; the universe transforms itself and new life emerges, revealing more complexity. The universe is profoundly beautiful. Through suffering and death, this beauty is born: the primordial flaring, the sacrifice of those first particles to create the new. It is the backdrop for our Easter story.
Jesus never hesitated. He always hugged the powerless with all the power of God. He brought them to new life in an unbelievably transformative way. We are called to do the same – to hug HOPE to the full and participate in new transformations with all of creation.