‘Would a kiss help?’
The dignified Head Mistress looked down on the small miscreant gazing hopefully up at her. Having told him in no uncertain tones that she was grieved – yes grieved to see him yet again standing outside his classroom door, I can imagine how completely disarmed she must have been by his innocent offer of a kiss.
Poor Thomas. I don’t remember his name so we’ll call him that, though he certainly was not a doubter. After his early years of being pushed from pillar to post in foster care, he was at last secure and treasured in a loving family and taught of one, Jesus, who loved and treasured him too.
Life was so exciting and he did so want to please his teacher, but somehow the more he tried the more he seemed to get things wrong.
I never heard the end of this story, but I do know what my answer would have been, for yes, a kiss (or a hug – a cwtch as we say in Wales) does help.
When my husband died I struggled with the tears. He had always been there, if I felt sad or hurt, to pray for me yes, but his hugs had been the best part. So now I would just tell the Lord, ‘Lord, I need a hug.’ God did not come down from heaven to answer my prayer. One day it was a little girl who, recognising me from my school visit, gave me a lovely hug, right around my knees. Another day it was the lady who worked in the Visitor’s Centre. And then there is my lovely ‘Scrabble’ friend who, seeing the tears threatening to spill from my eyes, called me aside. ‘Come here,’ she said, and wrapped me in a bear hug.
Often I would tell people, ‘Do you know that hugs come from Heaven?’ and would go on to explain, ‘I told God I needed a hug, and he sent it through you.’ I rarely have to ask God these days, but he still sends me hugs, and I love to pass on his hugs to others – all from heaven.
I remember my husband preaching on God’s kiss, and over the years I have come in some small measure, to understand and so, in this my New Year’s blog I would share what he has been showing me.
When God created the world, the planets, the plants and animals, he spoke the word and they came into being. But when he made Adam, he himself took clay and formed the wonders of a human body, - but then. Yes, he gave Adam life by breathing into him. You know what we call that? Yes, God gave mankind the kiss of life.
And when God was made flesh and came and dwelt among us, as a little child God made himself vulnerable and we were able to ‘Worship the Beloved with a kiss,’ as the carol says.
But God did not only send His Son so that we might know what he was like, but so that he could die on the cross in our place, - yes, to cross out all the bad things we have done.
In school, we don’t like to see a cross by our work. It means it is wrong. But the cross of Jesus, if we will accept its message, means forgiveness so that from now on we can see the Xs as kisses, for God sees us now as in Jesus, and we are now the righteousness of Christ.
A kiss does help, doesn’t it? We can run to God, as a little child, when we get it wrong and straight away God gives us his kiss of forgiveness. We can run to him when we are bruised or hurting and he will kiss it better, and when we feel unwanted or unloved, or even full of joy but have no one to share it with, his arms are always open to us and his kiss is for us.
‘In his presence is fullness of joy,’
Butterfly gentle caress on the brow of the sleeping child
Father heart strong embrace for the son turned again from the wild
Peace in the place of warfare, Tears kissed from the sorrowful one
Ardent strength of the lover who knows life is only begun
But what of the kiss of our Maker breathing life in the form he had made?
And the worshipful kiss of the maiden in whose arms as a babe he was laid?
The cost of the kiss of our Saviour, crossing out all the wrongs we have done?
And the bliss of the kiss of our Lord for his Church at the marriage feast of the Lamb?