I’m glad to be attending a church filled with huggers. I really look forward to my Sunday bear hugs! Paul says in Romans 16:16, to “greet one another with a holy kiss”. A lot of folks get hung up here on the word “kiss” and, for the most part, I’m right there with them. But in doing so, we overlook the word “holy”.
It doesn’t really matter if we greet one another verbally or with a handshake, a hug, or a kiss. These are just customs that differ depending on when and where you’ve lived. I think Paul’s emphasis here is, first of all, that we greet one another – don’t pass by without acknowledging each other.
Secondly, make your greeting “holy”. At first glance, this seems a little odd and even difficult to do. I think a holy greeting is one that isn’t a mere superficial formality, but one that shows honest concern and comes from a sincere heart. Another way to look at this is to greet one another with God’s unconditional “agape” love.
The world around us has its various customs that come and go, but Paul admonishes us to be different, to not be as the world, but to always greet one another with holiness.
Romans 12:9a “Let love be without hypocrisy.”
How do you prefer to be greeted when attending church? Is this any different than the greeting you expect other places? How important is this “one another” to you?