“Greet One Another”

“Greet one another with a holy kiss” (2 Corinthians 13:12).

I have visited a few countries where it was common to greet one another — family, friends, new acquaintances, every person who walked into church — with a kiss on the cheek, or at least next to it. It took some adjustment, but that custom communicated warmth and welcome. It was worth the initial discomfort because it was a great way to show love in that situation.

Kiss on Cheek

Upon returning home, I have been delighted to again be with people whom I have known for years, and to greet them warmly — but not with a kiss. Instead it is with a mix of smiles, hugs, handshakes, and waves. It takes some adjustment after being immersed in cultures marked by frequent air-kisses, but it is worth the re-adjustment because it is usually how love is best expressed in my home culture.


For the past week or so, “social distancing” (that is, maintaining a physical distance of around 6+ feet) has been emphasized to reduce the spread of COVID-19 — not just locally, but around the world. This is intended to protect one another, and especially those most vulnerable. It is a new experience to keep such distance, but it is worth the effort because it is a way to love well in this current season.

Photo by Nguyen Thu Hoai on Unsplash

In the closing words of a letter to the church in Corinth, Paul instructed them to “greet one another with a holy kiss” — a greeting of love and warmth there, of caring and concern for one another. During this challenging time in our world, may we rise to the challenge by adjusting routines and expectations, to express our love and concern through phone calls, texts, video chats, snail mail, sharing of resources, running errands for those most vulnerable, and more. May we love well.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All God’s people here send their greetings. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:11-14).

— Pastor Debi

Doing Things Differently

A choir sings together. That is almost the definition of a choir! So, when schools shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus in California, one would expect a school choir to be among the most obviously prevented from continuing. After all, how could they possibly sing together if they could not even be together?

Perhaps you know where this is going, because the story went viral. If not, click here and give it a listen!

Chino Valley USD

Rather than giving up, this group in the Chino Valley School District found a way through the obvious barrier that could have prevented them from being a choir. They did not get around it by neglecting the “social distancing” needed, but by using common technology, some out-of-the-box thinking, and presumably extra work to make it happen. And, while they were unable to perform at the choir festival as planned, this group has brought joy to many more because of how they responded.

What a great model! Right now we (individuals, households, cultures, organizations, states, countries, and the world as a whole) are trying to figure out how to do basic life stuff while avoiding group gatherings and generally maintaining physical distance from others. It is tempting to give up. After all, how could we possibly serve together, learn together, work together, worship together, grieve together, celebrate together, have fun together, etc., if we can’t even be together?

Life is different in these days of social distancing, and there are plenty of extra challenges. But let’s not let the obvious barriers keep us from living life. Let’s think in new ways and use the tools we have available to love well in every situation.