Greet one another with a loving kiss. – 1 Peter 5:14
A rhythm of kissing? Really? Well, why not? Did you know that this specific command – to greet one another with a kiss – appears five times in the New Testament?
And that’s not all the Bible has to say about kissing. In Luke 7:36-50, Jesus confronts a Pharisee named Simon who had invited Jesus into his home, but neglected through various means to greet Jesus in a respectful way – greeting with a kiss being one of them. Furthermore, if you simply do a quick search of the word kiss in the Bible, you’ll find dozens of references to greeting with a kiss.
If you’re an American, you may look at all of this kissing in scripture and think, “what’s up with these mushy people?” In our culture, we tend to prefer different – less intimate – forms of greeting. On the whole, we tend to like the idea of “personal space” – and we aren’t alone in our less touchy-feeling ways.
The different ways people choose to greet one another varies greatly between cultures. A quick survey of methods of greeting from around the world delivers a surprisingly long and distinct list of greetings types. Here’s a look at just a handful:
- Sticking your tongue out
- Shaking hands
- Raising a hand
- Kissing on one cheek
- Kissing on both cheeks
- Fist bump
- Pressing foreheads together
- Giving a hug
There are so many different ways to greet people and so many opportunities in a day to do so. But how often do we make our greetings count? How often do we attempt to intentionally communicate our love, respect and appreciation for another person when we enter their presence?
This week, make it a rhythm of your life to be more intentional about the way you greet people.
It may not be the best idea to actually go around kissing people in our culture, but hopefully the striking idea of it gives us the nudge to practice intentional forms of greetings that communicate certain sorts of things. Let the way you greet people be an expression of who you are and what you’re about.
As a Christian, is it possible to communicate through your greetings that:
- You love, respect and appreciate the unique person – created in the image of God – standing right in front of you.
- Your love extends even to your enemies.
- You’re a safe landing spot for the cares of their life.
As Origins folk, what does it look like for you to communicate in every greeting that:
- You’re interested in their life.
- You’ll be exploring ways to partner with them in their journey.
- You’ll be engaged in meeting their needs and the needs of your community as they arise.
It may be as simple as giving a high-five, smiling, shaking hands, making eye contact or embracing with a hug. It may require sincere, thoughtfully prepared words. But whatever it is, do it on purpose. Be intentional about greeting people with the love of Christ in your own unique and meaningful way.