We were born with it
The skin is the largest organ in the human body. It is responsible for the sense of touch. The primary means children, right from infancy, get to learn about their new environment is touch. As adults, before a child grows up to understand verbal communication, touch is our major way of relating with them. I have a sprightful niece called Akosua who is just one and a half years old. She will sometimes run to hug me when she sees me. Then she will lift her hands and head whiles looking into my face, indicating to me that I should carry her. Anytime she cries, she will be carried in comforting arms and she will stop crying shortly. I believe this is the same with toddlers in general. So the question is where did they get such behavioural tendencies from if it was not part of their natural makeup? Such behaviour is innate and part of what makes us human. The point I am trying to make is that human beings are gregarious. They want to be touched and they respond to touch. Professeur Tiffany Fields, in her book: Touch (2001) puts it that “Touch is stronger than verbal or emotional contact and is critical for children’s growth, development and health, as well as for adults’ physical and mental well being.”
Sports/football showed the way
When I consider the impact of sports or football in the world at a time the world is facing a pandemic, for me, football or sports has been superb! It gives me hope that things will come back to normal. And I heave a sigh of relief knowing that at least not everyone is buying this “new normal” nonsense! You look at football today and it is so beautiful – the way footballers and their technical team embrace each other to celebrate goals and shake hands as well. We see fans jubilating together: hugging, singing, cheering and clapping. I saw some Liverpool fans sitting on the shoulders of others and waving their flags in jubilation when they won the league. Football pushed back against the coronavirus. Thus, I find it terrible to consider how social distancing can become the “new normal” and the future of the human race when gregariousness is part of his very nature. It is like forcing fish out of the waters to live on land because their survival is being threatened by water pollution. That will be asking the absurd. That will be asking them not to remain fish anymore to survive. How is this possible?!
I believe God is using sports to provoke the world back into order and normal. He is using sports to open the eyes of the world and to bring them back in alignment and out of fear and deception. The God I know can use anything and anybody to fulfil his will and purpose.
God used the enemies of Israel to punish Israel for their disobedience and to bring them back to Him in repentance.
God used the waters, locusts, frogs, boils, lice, flies, hail, livestock and darkness to force the Pharaoh to succumb to His will.
God used the Gentile sinners to make the Jews jealous and provoke the Jews to bring them to Christ and faith.
Jesus told the Pharisees that if those shouting hosanna keep quiet, the stones will cry out.
In the old testament, God spoke through a donkey, He used a harlot called Rahab to facilitate his plan. He also used a jawbone of a donkey Samson had to slay a thousand Philistines.
For me, football became the light of the world when the world went into lockdown. When people were asked to stay home and churches and businesses were told to fold their mats. God said to his children, you are the light of the world. But the church said no, we are law-abiding, let the world instruct us instead and we shall humbly follow. The church failed to lead so God had to rely on football or sports to take up the mantle of leadership and show the way. Sports brings us together and reminds us of who we are. That we are one people, and that human beings are gregarious. Football demonstrated that yes, we can really come out and face this invincible enemy virus!
The nature, desire, intent and purposes of God our father
The nature, being and very personhood of God is trinity in unity. God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are three persons in one. Practically, when one is working, all are working. Even the Son, Jesus Christ, who descended from the father in heaven and came to live here on earth was still not separated from the father, and they were not socially distanced. That is why Jesus said things like “I and my father are one”, “anyone who has seen me has seen the Father”, “I am in the father and the father is in me”.
Also, the nature of God our Father, the one who created us in his image and likeness is love. Love brings people together. Love cares. Love shares. The bible is littered all over with tales and expressions of a deep sense of affection and love God has for us. God had always wanted to be close to us for intimacy and fellowship. In the Old Testament, because we couldn’t go up to him, he was willing to vacate his throne above and come down to us, dwell among us and be closer to us. That is why he instructed Moses to build him the tabernacle. In the New Testament, God paid a heavy price by sacrificing his only Son, Jesus Christ, to get us the passport to come up to Him and be closer to Him by the Spirit through Christ. That is why we are seated with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. That is why our call is a heavenly calling. We dwell in a father who is in heaven and our father dwells in us. This is a beautiful love story. A picture of heaven kissing the earth. We love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19). This is a God who for the sake of love did the most shocking descent imaginable. He took on a new form so he can live among humans and save them eventually. Apostle Paul expressed this deed in Philippians 6:6-8
“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God. Something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!”
Genesis 3:8 suggests that God usually visited Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to socialize and have fellowship with man in the cool of the day.
Love will bring us together eventually. No matter how far we drift or how loud we talk about social distancing. Our God is love. And if he created us in His likeness, then His nature in us will surely gravitate us towards those we love and care about. No one is an island. The Lord God himself said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” Aristotle, the legendary Greek philosopher said, “Man is by nature a social animal.” Man relies on cooperation to survive and thrive. That is why we are gregarious and respond to touch as humans.
Here are some scriptures to help you see how important it is to God that we live together in harmony:
How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony! (Psalm 133:1)
Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Mark 10:9)
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together… (Hebrews 10:25)
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18)
… that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. (1 Corinthians 5:19)
… we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus … (Romans 5:11)
Whoever claims to love (attraction and desire) God yet hates (rejection and separation) a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. (1 john 4:20)
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. (Luke 13:34)
To conclude, the God I know does not look like a social distancing God to me. We know that when God was creating the universe, he spoke all things into being. But when it came to man, he touched us. He took his time to form us with his bare hands because we were so special in His sight. That is why we also want to touch, hug and feel closely the people we so dearly love and cherish. So being gregarious is part of man’s very being. You take that away from him, he struggles in his existence and he will feel emotionally empty. That is why we consider isolation as a form of punishment. When people are imprisoned, they feel isolated from their loved ones and they sometimes have nobody to interact with or to touch them. This can create an emotional void in them and affect their thinking capacity. According to Professor Tiffany Fields, “a survey of people in lockdown undertaken in April 2020 found that about 60 per cent of respondents had touch deprivation which can lead to health problems such as stress, anxiety, depression, fatigue, sleep disturbances and post-traumatic stress symptoms.”