I’ve joked about the holy kiss many times with my students and my congregation when I talk about how we Bible-believers can believe Scripture to be 100% truth and still not have a clue how to obey it at times. After all, in the New Testament we have five clear commands to greet our fellow believers with a holy kiss. What do we do with these commands?
- Do we ignore them?
- Do we blame our lack of inaction on cultural differences?
- Do we reinvent the “holy kiss” to be more of a side-hug in our modern day?
- Or do we lay a big kiss on the lips of everyone we see in church?
At the close of one of my messages a few years back, a group of girls came up on to the stage where I was standing and said that they felt convicted by the Scriptures that they now needed to be giving out holy kisses and they were to start by giving them to me. I looked aghast, swallowed hard, and smiled a weak smile. Then, as if on cue, they all held out their hands to me, offering me Hershey’s kisses – each one with the word “holy” written on them. Well, that is arguably one way to meet the demands of Scripture.
As a pastor, I may not yet have an air-tight solution to offer the modern American church-goer on this point, but I do know that the main thrust of this command is to express our deep, Spirit-born, heartfelt affection for one another in the Body of Christ. And I don’t think we should attempt to wiggle out of this command. I think we should embrace it.
I think each one of us should spend time with the Holy Spirit on this point and ask Him to show us how we, as individuals, can more effectively employ the shows of affection to the Body. In all my years as a Christian, I’ve received many “holy kisses.” Yes, some of these kisses were of the chocolate variety, but all were gestures of sincere affection among fellow believers in Christ. I deeply appreciate Christians who go out of their way to express genuine love for each other.
We live in a culture that deems a kiss as a sensual expression, and, therefore, it’s difficult to see how adding in a kiss to our church interactions can possibly steer us in the right direction. I fully understand the challenge in this matter and I resonate with the reticence.
But, that said, I think we need to fight through this fog and ensure that we are not allowing our culture to be the one steering us as Christians. The Word of God is our guide, even when it leads us into difficult and, ahem, uncomfortable territory.
Dishing out digital kisses of love (holy ones, of course),
Listen to Eric's sermon The Guy That Kisses for more on this topic.