Read 2 Corinthians 13:12
12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. (NIV)
Most church members don’t go around kissing one another as a sign of greeting. In our culture it is not always appropriate and may cross boundaries and break protocols on occasions. So if we kiss, we are cautious and prudent kissers!
Our text is an example of how an ongoing principle can be applied differently in practice according to our culture. And the ongoing principle is deeper than the legitimacy of giving someone a kiss. It seems that in Roman days the custom of kissing was confined to those of your own class and strata of society. You would greet with a kiss those who were your social equals, but certainly not kiss those who were seen to be ‘below’ you.
But now in the Christian church, all can greet one another with a special kiss. The word ‘holy’ implies this was far from an erotic or romantic gesture. Greeting was to be extended to all, irrespective of background. The church was not to go the way of the surrounding culture but present an alternative to it. All were equal in God’s sight. All had been welcomed by him and so were to be welcomed by one another.
So while we may not kiss one another at church, it is vital we greet one another with a lack of discrimination. All are to be welcomed, not just those we are personally glad to see. We may be closer to some than others and relate better to some than others. But beneath it all, we greet one another as equally loved and equally welcomed by a God who is in the business of breaking down barriers.