“Love and Truth meet in the street, Right Living and Whole Living embrace and kiss!” Psalm 85:10 (The Message Bible)
My daughter, Karen, married an Irish man from New Jersey. The first time I met his family, instead of shaking hands or hugging, I received a kiss on the cheek, which felt a bit invasive to my Norwegian skin.
A biblical example of a welcoming kiss is found in the book of Genesis, in the well-known story of Joseph, the son of Jacob, and his brothers who sold him into slavery. Because God had given Joseph the gift of accurately interpreting dreams, Pharaoh promoted him to be his “right-hand man” and put him in charge of the whole country of Egypt. For seven years, Joseph bought grain to prepare the country for the seven-year famine to come. When the famine hit, other countries weren’t prepared, and Joseph’s family from Canaan went to Egypt to buy grain, and they didn’t realize they were dealing with their brother, Joseph. After the brothers made several more trips to buy grain, Joseph finally revealed his identity. “He threw himself on his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck. He then kissed all his brothers and wept over them.” (Genesis 45: 16)
The next time I saw Karen’s in-laws, I received and returned the kiss— a sign of feeling welcomed and accepted by these loving people.
Dear Lord, help us to feel kissed by you and other people who love us. Amen.