catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 5, Num 23 :: 2006.12.15 — 2006.12.29


Angels don't kiss

Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great:
He appeared in a body,
was vindicated by the Spirit,
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations,
was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory.
(1 Tim. 3:16) 

Understanding Jesus’ dual nature of flesh and spirit provides us with comfort as well as challenges.  He is simultaneously God as well as our brother.  He has identified with us as well as shown the way to escape our fallen nature, "for surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants" (Heb. 2:16). My response is gratitude that Jesus is present as my helper as I live in the flesh as a “daughter of Eve”.

"Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" (Heb. 1:14) 

Jesus received the ministry of the angels during his time of temptation in the desert. "As he prayed in the garden prior to sweating blood an angel strengthened him" (Luke 22:43).  So what do we know about the entrance of angels into the flesh and blood lives of men and women? “What Child is This?”, a Christmas carol, offers this theologic summation: “Whom angels greet with anthems sweet.”  Angels are announcers and singers, but they don’t greet with a holy kiss. Angels rarely physically touched people. Genesis relates that angels grasped Lot and his family’s hands to lead them out (19:16).  Jesus’ story of Lazarus being carried by angels to Abraham’s bosom is metaphoric. Maybe kissing is one of those things that angels long to look into (1 Pet. 1:12).

While angels are limited in their ability for physical touch, we human beings have more freedom in this respect and honor God-made-flesh when we seek to discover what this means. Incidents of kissing related to Jesus, though sparse, involve others kissing Jesus.  Luke recounts the story of a sinful woman who wept on, anointed and kissed Jesus’ feet (7:38).  Matthew, Mark and Luke recount the betrayal kiss of Judas to Jesus on the Mount of Olives.  Paul received farewell kisses of a holy nature from the Ephesian elders as he left for Jerusalem in Acts 20. This charge from Paul to the early church occurs in four of his epistles summary statements. The holy kiss spiritualizes a physical greeting.

Could our challenge this Christmas as we seek to honor the incarnation of God be to discover what a holy kiss is? Once we discover it can we use it in corporate worship?  Can we express intimacy with God as we express intimacy with others?  Is it possible to use the flesh to experience the spirit?

Accompanying photos by Bruce Wilkoff, taken in England at Tudely Chapel and Chichester Cathedral, respectively.

your comments

comments powered by Disqus