Kissing. Do you do much of it?
Well, I mean—not at home—at church? Church? Yeah. You take the bible seriously, don’t you? The Scripture tells us to, “Greet one another with a holy kiss” (1 Cor. 16:20). OK, sure. Should I take that seriously?
In the 2nd century—Justin Martyr, said that in church kissing was a ritualized act in the worship service. It came right after prayer, and just before the Lord’s supper.
In the 3rd century—just the men kiss the men, and only women kiss the women. How does that sound?
In the 4th century—only the clergy kissed the clergy, and only the congregation kissed the congregation.
In the 5th century—only the ministers kissed each other.
Then, for a few centuries, kissing the hand was the thing to do.
By the 13th century, Christians at church only kissed objects. So, you kiss an object, and pass it along, so to speak. That way everyone could all greet one another with a sort of second-hand kiss. The Minister kisses something and then its your turn.
More recently, orthodox Armenians kiss the ground … or just bow—that sounds easier.
And now in many churches, there is what is called, the “Kiss of peace,” or more commonly called, “The Passing of the peace.” So, instead of actual kissing the people around you, each persons says, “the peace of the Lord be with you.” And then they shake hands.
It seems like, historically, this kiss of peace is really more like the kiss of death. So confusing.
Why dance around the obvious meaning of “Greet one another with a holy kiss?” Well, because kissing is not really for anyone but lovers, or family members.
So why then kiss in church? Well, kissing in church was not normal then, and it is not now. But five times in the New Testament Christians are told to kiss each other. Paul and Peter both say do it.
Well, let’s not solve the challenge of who and how or even if to kiss someone in church today. But it is something really good to think about.
God wants you, kissing or no kissing, to have a deep kind of love that we enjoy only in families. Don’t you feel good when your Dad or Mom gives you a little kiss on the cheek, or when you child blesses you with an unexpected sign of affection? That’s special. That’s family!
God wants us to treat each other in a holy way, as family, with real affection.
Now that’s something to Celebrate!