What is the usefulness and relevance of movement and posture in corporate worship? This is the ninth in a series on this topic inspired by a chapter in “Participating in Worship” by Craig Douglas Erickson.
Today we look at the issue of kissing.
In many cultures kissing on the cheek once, twice or even three times is a culturally normative method of greeting. It’s not how I grew up, but even in my circles close friends would exchange a kiss of greeting.
Peter encourages Christ-followers to: “Greet one another with a kiss of love.” (1 Peter 5:14 NIV11) Here the word “love” can also be translated “peace”. We see the same activity encouraged in: Rom. 16:16; 1 Cor. 16:20; 2 Cor. 13:12; 1 Th. 5:26.
Are we missing something by not incorporating a “kiss of peace” either as part of our services, or in the fellowship? When I first came to the fellowships in which I now serve, we simply shook hands. Later that developed to hugging. I love hugging-now. Not when it started. But the tangible physical experience of getting up close and personal with one another reinforces our sense of family. Might a kiss on the cheek of chief something similar and be even more biblical? Have we avoided kissing because of the potential lustful effects of such intimacy between men and women who are not married? Is a throwback to our largely student-based origins where energy and hormones tend to run amok?!
I’m not sure, but, it does seem clear that if we are claiming to be brothers and sisters in Christ, there must be some level of physical closeness with which we become comfortable. My question is, whether this should be incorporated into our services. Is there a place for, at the right moment in the service, asking people to exchange a kiss? We sometimes do this in a different way by asking people to stand up and greet the person next to them and often that means giving and receiving a hug. Why not a kiss also?
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“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)
God bless, Malcolm
PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John