The Mark of Love
// Jeanne DeTellis Loudon
I greet you with a holy kiss. Romans 16:16 instructs us to greet our brothers and sisters in Christ with a holy kiss.
Isn’t it strange how we read the Word, and believe it is God speaking to us, but then conclude that things have changed, and it is not really relevant today? That is the tension between the Word of God and our culture. What is truly relevant is the unchanging Word of God—yesterday, today and forever. Our brothers and sisters in Christ are our family now and forever. Remember what Jesus said when told that His mother and brothers were looking for Him? He said, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.” (Luke 8:21). We tenderly need to desire, to engage, and to greet each other and encourage the mark of love—a kiss.
This was and still is the Biblical teaching and culture of my home church in Boston, Massachusetts. On occasion, the pastor will remind the men that to give a holy kiss is to give a pecking kiss on the cheek!
A baby responds to kissing and learns to kiss before they communicate with words. A kiss! How important can that sign of love be for some in our community who may be alone, separated from family, or challenged with health issues, relationships, and financial struggles? Give them a holy kiss. Let your touch be a mark of love because they will know we are Christians by our love. John 13:35 says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”
I enjoy identifying with the Shulammite woman in the book in the Bible, Song of Solomon. Some pastors shy away from preaching from this book, but it is His Word to us on love, marriage, fidelity and courtship. I identify with this woman. I understand. I also have had passion and desire and this book confirms that to desire love is normal, and also the design and plan of the One who kisses us—Jesus Himself. In chapter 1, verse 1, she says to her lover, “Kiss me.”
Even Jesus desired to be kissed. His words in Luke 7:45 are: “YOU GAVE ME NO KISS!”
We are blessed with those events in life when we feel the kiss of God—a new relationship, a new career, an opportunity to be used of God, or just feeling a kiss from God in finding a parking space in a busy town. A kiss from God can be a pleasant surprise. My husband and I were representing our mission in Athens, Alabama, and at one of the events a woman was introduced from Wyoming. As it turned out, she grew up on the same street and went to the same schools as my husband, Ted. That was a sweet kiss!
Our mark of love can be a time to renew and remember and to practice God’s Word to greet in love with a holy kiss. I appreciate your love to give your brother and sister a holy kiss. I ask God to let His kisses continuously touch your life every day. ~Jeanne DeTellis Loudon