Greeting with a Holy Kiss – Romans 16:16

Greet one another with a holy kiss.

Romans 16:16a NIV

If you are like me, you might get a bit uncomfortable when you read Paul’s instruction to greet one another with a holy kiss. The only people I am comfortable with kissing are my wife and young granddaughters. But this instruction is not really about kissing. Instead, it is about greeting. In the context of the day, a kiss on the cheek was a form of greeting between two people. But that is no longer the custom today, at least in the US. Instead, we will shake hands or sometimes hug. And so, if Paul was writing this to an American church today, he might tell us to greet one another with a holy handshake.

I don’t know what would make a handshake holy. But our greeting should be more than perfunctory. Within the body of Christ, we are all fellow members, joined together into one body. While that union is largely a spiritual one, our physical greetings, whether a kiss, a hug, or a handshake, can serve to symbolize that union. When we shake hands together, let’s do it with the acknowledgment that we are connected together in spirit. Greet one another joyfully. Be thankful for the opportunity to connect physically, however briefly. Maybe that is what would make our handshake holy!

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