Just a Kiss

by DanWolgemuth on January 9, 2009

My entry through the front door didn’t go unnoticed. I had just finished a productive, but exhausting day at the office so the re-entry into our home was well anticipated and a welcome balm. I slipped my shoes off and looked down the hallway toward the family room. My first glimpse was of Mary, and in her arms, Malia, our one-year-old granddaughter.

Words were unnecessary, and as I approached these two beautiful ladies my heart melted. Once face to face I leaned forward and gave Mary a kiss. As I pulled back I glanced at the child in Mary’s arms. Malia was completely captivated by the welcome home kiss. Although she’s been showered with and surrounded by kisses for her entire thirteen months, this kiss seemed different. So I did it again. I leaned forward and sincerely and tenderly kissed Mary. And once again, the same enthralled look from Malia.

So in that instant I looked squarely into the pristine eyes of my granddaughter and I said, “Malia, can you give Pops a kiss?” As I leaned forward I felt the vulnerability of my exposed invitation. To my great delight, Malia leaned forward and gave me a kiss. So I repeated the process. A kiss to Mary, and invitation to Malia, and once again, affection received and reciprocated.

All those in the area cheered the moment, but that was a poor substitute for the thrill in my heart.

Throughout the night I thought about that moment, about the power of a model, an example, an inspiration, an invitation.

I thought about John 21, about the three questions that Jesus asked to Peter, His apostle, “Do you love me?” Three times Peter responded with “Yes,” and three times Jesus followed with instructions for him to take care of, to tend and feed the flock.

And in that moment, Peter knew what that meant. He had spent three years watching Jesus tend and feed the lambs in His life. He had seen the compassion, the courage, the commitment, the tenderness, the resolve, the power, the clarity, the mystery, the elegance, the simplicity, the humility, the dignity, in life, in living, in suffering, and yes, even in death. Peter had watched Jesus. Peter had seen the kiss, and now it was his turn.

Jesus showed Peter the way, it was how he learned. It is how we learn. One kiss at a time.

In birth, in ministry, in death, in resurrection to life, in promise and in practice.

“Follow me.” ~ John 21:19

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