Greet One Another With a Holy Bear-Hug

Posted on October 4, 2018 by Justin Serrano

No church is perfect, as we all know, precisely because every church is made up of imperfect people like us. But one thing is for sure, Harvest is among the best. One of the things I believe makes Harvest the best is that the people give out hugs like they’re going out of style. And not just cold, obligatory hugs, but warm, genuine and sometimes unexpected hugs. In fact, that’s one of the very things that struck me when I started attending Harvest.

One of the most memorable hugs I received at Harvest was from an eight-year-old boy. It was completely unexpected. My family and I were sitting in our usual back row, safely away from all human contact and affection, when this adorable little boy came up and gave each of us a hug. But it didn’t end there, he proceeded to give everyone else a hug! He totally made my day, and to be quite honest, my whole week.

Many children are warm and accepting, but I was impressed how eager he was not to leave anyone out. I know its not unusual for children to be outgoing like this little one, but I’m pretty sure his affectionate behavior is something he learned from his church family. Like them, he warmed my soul and I’m certain my heart grew two sizes too big. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t raised by wolves, but for a most reluctant hugger like me, this is something I realized I had to get used to.

It’s amazing how something so simple can break down the barriers of one’s heart. Now I find myself, a recovering cynic, making others uncomfortable with unexpected hugs. You never know how God can use you to change people just by showing a little kindness and love with something as simple as a hug. Aside from softening a hardened, stony heart, however, hugs also have countless other benefits. In an article I read on Healthline, they list the following benefits of a simple hug.

  1. Reduces stress
  2. Protects against illness
  3. Boosts heart health
  4. Makes you happier
  5. Reduces fears
  6. Reduces pain
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  8. Improves communication

If that doesn’t encourage you, I don’t know what will! Each time Paul addresses a church in the New Testament, he often gives an admonition or exhortation of some kind. In this case, he exhorts the church in Thessalonica saying, “Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet, we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more” (I Thessalonians 4:9-10).

After reading this, I realized that Harvest is just like the church in Thessalonica. If Paul were to write a letter to Harvest, I believe he would say something like, “Now about holy hugs we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have this down. And in fact, you do hug all the brothers throughout Taylor Ranch. Timothy brought me this good news of your warm hugs upon his return to Athens. I can’t wait to be with you in Albuquerque to greet the brethren with a holy hug.”

Harvest, thank you for being the most loving church family I have ever known!



Love each other. Love your church. Love your city.
Harvest, Go be the Church!


If you have any ideas for a good blog post consisting of stories within our church family, we would love to hear from you. Send your idea, along with your contact info to: [email protected]