Kissing seems is a theme in my Bible reading these days. (Mark and I follow the Moravian daily texts, reading through the Bible every two years, and we just finished Absalom’s rebellion.) It’s got me thinking…
Kissing has long been a political strategy used to win loyalty. I saw this scene played over and over on television recently: a prominent political candidate kissing the baby. How sweet. He’s not the first. Absalom used this tactic very successfully, and if his long hair wouldn’t have gotten in the way of a large tree branch, he might have won the battle and secured the throne for himself.
Kissing has been misused throughout history, and we see this played out in the Bible as well:
Absalom kissed David and then proceeded to turn on him, rebel against his authority and finally usurp his throne. 2 Samuel 14:33
Absalom’s strategy to rise to the throne of Israel involved kissing the king’s subjects to win over their political loyalty. 2 Samuel 15:5.
And there are other forms of kissing in the Bible as well…
The Kiss of death.
Judas’ kiss betrayed Jesus to his death, being the indicating factor of Jesus’ identity (it was dark and many in the crowd who were sent to arrest him would not have recognized him otherwise). Mark 14:44,45
An immoral woman washed Jesus’ feet with her tears; she let her hair down (a shocking act in itself), wiped his feet with her hair, and kept kissing his feet while pouring perfume on them. Luke 7:36-47
“Kiss me and kiss me again, for your love is sweeter than wine.” 1 Song of Songs 1:2. Enough said.
“David blessed Barzillai and kissed him.” 2 Sam 19:39. David was indebted to this good man for being one of three thoughtful gentlemen who supplied David and his loyal troops with provisions while they waited out Absalom’s tantrum.
The kiss of reconciliation and forgiveness.
The offended, discarded father of the prodigal was the first to run and embrace and kiss his rebel son. Luke 15:20
And then there is this…
In the New Testament letters Paul the Apostle encourages followers of Jesus the “greet one another with a holy kiss.”
A holy kiss.
My New Living Translation Study Bible notes that, “Kissing on the cheek or forehead was a common form of greeting that reflected such sentiments as honor, friendship, and love among family members… The kiss of peace became a standard feature of the Christian liturgy by the second century.” Kisses were a mark of family belonging… When I was a child I recall my Aunt Anna planting kisses on my cheek, and she always made me realize I was one of the family. Family… Tenderness, touch, a graceful intimacy… These are to mark our relationships in the family of God.
So today let’s extend the family blessing with a “holy kiss.” That’s my mission today… To spread the blessing of our Father’s family to those who come into my life…
Hugs and kisses.