Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Embraces: Part 5

I barely mentioned something important in last week's blurb about hugging.  The intentions of the hugger matter but in and of itself the act of hugging is best when understood and appreciated by the one being hugged.  The hugger needs the permission of the hugged.  

It matters here because I failed to include that the kind of hugging tested gains such benefits as lower blood pressure and increased immune response is hugging that last 20 seconds or longer.  

Why 20 seconds?  There is a language to hugging and in the conversation -- the call and response -- the benefits find purchase, take root.

It makes sense, doesn't it?  Otherwise our "hugging" sinks into idiosyncrasy.  Watch the YouTube videos of that young man hugging police officers.  Their eyes meet and the officers often hug back.  It is brief -- less than 20 seconds in most cases -- but a conversation begins into which we in our watching and sharing are also called.  
I remember Eric Berne's "transactional analysis" of the late 60's.  He charted the way we converse in greeting and more.  What he identified is that most of us prefer to keep our transactions brief and shallow.  If someone answers to "how are you?" with a long discourse on some existential predicament we end up knowing more than we want to know.  1 meets 1, then 2 meets 2, then 3 meets 3.  A 1 met by a 5 mostly means the 5 needs help.    

Just like hugging, conversations -- as embraces graduated through an agreed language -- take time to make a difference and require the consent of both parties to go as deep as they can.  

Sundays and their sermons pass through the same agreement.  Our agreement is that I listen to the conversation that is our lectionary readings, the life of the parish in the days and weeks before, the noise AND message of the world's happiness AND trouble and I hope to speak toward the level God is calling us to inhabit.  

I hope that every Sunday no matter the level the sermon approaches the next words spoken are by all of us in agreement reciting the Nicene Creed.  If we understand that God was first to speak then we also understand that when we say "We believe in God . . . " we are in conversation with the first to embrace us and give us permission to love.  

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