The boys in the Mr. Olsen’s Sunday School class were at it again.
The mild-mannered man seemed a little confused by their reaction, but perhaps that was only an act for their benefit. He knew what they were on about. Oh, he knew.
They were at the end of their journey through the New Testament book of Romans. Last instructions were being given by the Apostle before he closed the letter. All very boring (to the boys), and of little interest to them.
Wait just a minute! Did you hear what he just read?
“Greet one another with a holy kiss?”
The snickering started. Holy kiss. He said we should kiss. At least one boy put his hand up to his mouth and made a rude sound like a wet, noisy kiss.
Mr. Olsen looked up and chuckled. He had expected no less. It was a good thing the lesson was almost over. There was certainly no more learning going to happen in the class on that morning.
Holy kiss. Greet each other with a holy kiss.
A friend (who is female) ended a comment about one of my recent writings with the words I love you. Her expression of fondness was in response to my encouragement to not leave important things for later. Later doesn’t always come. I like it when people read things and take them to heart.
I showed the comment to the Lovely Lady today and she smiled. She knows there is no threat to her to be found in the words from this friend.
The Teacher told His listeners to love their neighbors as they loved themselves. Since we are bound to obey this, I think it’s not a bad idea to tell folks we love (not meaning in the romantic sense at all) that we love them.
It not only reminds them that we care, but it reminds us that we need to care.
The Teacher carried this radical idea a step further when He suggested that His followers should love their enemies.
That’s hard! Ms. Dottie is a sweet lady who is always agreeable and I’m happy to hug her neck. Cal? I argued with him last week and there’s no way I’m hugging him!
But, there it is. Love your neighbors and your enemies. Greet them with a holy kiss.
Still, I wonder. See, I imagine heads are nodding in agreement with the words.
That’s right! It’s what the Book says.
Do you still feel the love?
Some readers strongly dislike one of the people in the photo; some strongly dislike the other. There may even be some who can’t abide either one.
It’s funny, but when the teaching is just a concept, a nice sounding ideal, we’re happy to agree. But, put faces and history behind the words and suddenly, we’re not so sure.
The Teacher, who became our Savior, was sure. So sure that He turned His cheek to accept a kiss of death. From an enemy he called friend.
I don’t really have a lot to add. How could I?
If you see me someday soon and I give you a kiss on the cheek, I’m not being forward. And, if I tell you out of the blue that I love you, don’t be surprised. I won’t have gone over the edge, at least no further over the edge than I’ve always been.
I’m simply going to try to follow the Instructions. Somehow, I have a suspicion that things will work better when we do. All of us.
Time will tell.
We should start soon. Today would be good.
“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”
(Abraham Lincoln ~ 16th President of the United States ~ 1809-1865)
“I say, ‘Love your enemies! pray for those who persecute you.’ In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.”
(Matthew 5:44.45b ~ NLT)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2015. All Rights Reserved.