A West Indian woman in a London flat was told of her husband’s death in a street accident. The shock of grief stunned her like a blow, she sank into a corner of the sofa and sat there rigid and unhearing. For a long time her terrible tranced look continued to concern and embarrass the family, friends and officials who came and went.
Then the schoolteacher of one of her children, an Englishwoman, called and, seeing how things were, went and sat beside her. Without a word she threw an arm around the tight shoulders, clasping them with her full strength. The white cheek was thrust hard against the brown. Then as the unrelenting pain seeped through to her the newcomer’s tears began to flow, falling on their two hands linked in the woman’s lap.
For a long time that was all that was happening. And then at last the West Indian woman started to sob. Still not a word was spoken and after a little while the visitor got up and went, leaving her contribution to help the family meet its immediate needs.
That is the embrace of God, his kiss of life. That is the embrace of his mission and our intercession. And the Holy Spirit is the force in the straining muscles of an arm, the film of sweat between pressed cheeks, the mingled wetness on the back of clasped hands. He is as close and unobtrusive as that, and as irresistibly strong.