Greetings, Love, Hugs & Kisses All Around

Paul Hostetter

READ : 1 Peter 5:13-14
2 Peter 3:1-2

Give each other a warm greeting . . . peace to everyone. (v. 14, CEV)

I like the way the old fisherman Peter ends his short letter. What would life be like if everything ended with love, hugs and kisses? If a sham, it would be obnoxious and sickening. If sincere, we would never tire of it.

I am intrigued by the way men in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, especially Muslims, greet each other with kisses and embraces. I wonder what these customary gestures mean when there seems to be so much division, intrigue and strife among them, not only between enemies but between people belonging to the same religious or ethnic groups. What does it mean?

As a missionary I learned that sincerity and warmth are not measured by some external standard of greetings, hugs and kisses. I learned to some dismay that Spanish-speaking Mexicans, mestizos, express affection emotionally and physically, but their compatriots, the Mayan peoples in Chiapas, come across as very cool in their stoical, standard greetings and expression. But sincerity is what counts. Peter wraps up his letter of accountability commands in a warm blanket of deep affection. He learned from Jesus-love is the most important.

PRAYER

Lord of Peter, surround and imbue us with your love.