Kissing Cornelius

For those reading Lisa Harper’s book, Stumbling Into Grace, along with my small group, today’s devotional will match up with her seventh chapter: “Getting Our Squeeze On”


Our community theater group chose Hello, Dolly! as the fall musical this year. Over the summer, I rented the movie so we could hear the songs and learn the story.

While I love the play, the movie is terrible.  Still, my daughters loved the film. They specially requested it several times a week until I finally returned the DVD, much to their disappointment. (Other kids may be watching Spongebob and Phineas and Ferb.  My girls watch musicals from the 1960’s.)

They can now sing the songs and know every character’s name, despite the ridiculous sound of each moniker: Cornelius Hackl.  Barnaby Tucker.  Horace Vandergelder.

Not exactly John Smiths, these guys.

My daughters took a particular liking to Cornelius Hackl, the 33-year-old store clerk who wants to head off to New York City, fall in love and kiss a girl.

There’s no question who was the most excited to hear that my husband was chosen to play Cornelius.  He was pleased.  Our daughters were overjoyed.  His two biggest fans jumped all over the living room and cheered.

I reminded them that of all the parts in this play, Cornelius is the only guy who might have to kiss another girl–as in a girl who is not me.

“How would you feel about that?,” I asked them.

“That’s okay,” my oldest daughter assured me, “Daddy kisses you all the time.  Like every single morning and when he comes home from work, too.”

Thanks for the support!

Still, it reminded me that how my husband and I interact is a model for our daughters.   This doesn’t just matter now when they need the assurance of a stable home.

It doesn’t just matter in their future, when their own marriages may depend on what we modeled for them.

It really matters eternally.

God makes it clear in Scripture that marriage is an earthly representation of God’s covenant relationship with His own people.  Paul tells husbands to “love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25).  Jesus calls Himself the bridegroom and Revelation 19 describes the marriage supper of the Lamb in heaven.

That means that our love for one another should reflect Christ’s love.  People should look at our marriages and see God’s love in action.  My daughters should look at our marriage and see God at the center.  How we treat each other should make them desire a relationship with Jesus.

So, do we look like we’re loving one another?

Not just in marriages, but also in our churches and small groups and family lunches at Wendy’s after church . . . do we act loving?

And beyond that, with those outside our inner circle, people who may seem “less than,” those that our downcast, the hurting, people who annoy us a bit and who wear us out a lot, and the faces we’d prefer not to see in the Wal-Mart . . . do we act loving?

Jesus’ healings were rarely cold, distant, impersonal and non-physical.  When Jesus healed, it was usually with action, with physical touch that dramatically broke the barriers of clean/unclean, spiritual/not spiritual, holy/unholy.

Lisa Harper notes that Jesus:

intentionally used tactile methods—hugging a leper, placing His hands on a crippled woman’s spine—in most of His healing miracles.  When the disciples tried to keep little children from interacting with Jesus  . . . the Lamb of God beckoned them to pile onto His lap (Mark 10:13-16).

When Jesus healed the man who had been blind from birth, He once again demonstrated love in unmistakable, physically apparent ways (John 9:1-11).

The disciples pointed to the begging man and asked a theological trick of a question.  Whose sin caused the man’s blindness—his or his parents’?

These 12 guys saw a doctrinal conundrum.  Jesus saw a sick man.

So, Jesus healed him.  Not just with words, though.  The Savior of the World made it clear that He loved this man enough to touch him, to get down in the dirt with him (literally) and to meet his very real need.

Jesus stooped down, made a mud pack, and put it on the man’s eyes.  Then He sent the man away to wash in the Pool of Siloam.  The man, blind from the moment of his birth, could now see.

You couldn’t ever miss Jesus’ love.  Even if He had to stoop low to love another, He did.  Even if it involved getting dirty or if the crowd thought someone was unlovable, dirty, sinful, or unimportant, still Jesus showed love.

People in the back row of the crowd never wondered, “Does Jesus love that person?”  If you looked His way during a miracle, you saw love in action—all the way to the cross.

So, when people glance our way, do they see the same?  Can our kids look at our marriages and identify love?  Can strangers at the restaurant watch us and see love?  Can a visitor to our church see love from the greeter at the door, to the nursery worker and the Sunday School teacher, the pastor and the pianist?

They shouldn’t see just any love either, certainly not superficial, emotional, feeling-directed fluff, the kind that shakes hands and smiles, but never touches what’s broken or brings healing to the hurting.

Instead, they should see Christ’s action-filled, sacrificial, unconditional, healing, reach-out-and-touch someone love and they should be so amazed by it, that they want to experience it themselves.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King

What are your thoughts? Please comment here!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s