K Neill Foster

A Kiss for the Pastor

by K. Neill Foster

The city was Banga in the Philippines, and the man's name was Mr. Cervesa. I never did learn his first name. In a nation of shorter men, he was tall--perhaps six feet--and two hundred pounds. Although he was an elder in the local Alliance church, he was at odds with his pastor and with the pastor's wife.

The tension had existed for several years and was known among the people. When the pastor's wife, for example, was at the market, Mr. Cervesa would turn away if he saw her.

The revival meetings piqued his curiosity even though he was not impressed with the foreign preacher--me. Moreover, he let his views be known. Then one night, everything changed. When the invitation was given, Mr. Cervesa, moved by the Spirit, stood up and strode forward like a giant from his prominent seat at the back of the building.

Upon arriving at the platform, he gave his pastor a dramatic kiss. His words made clear that he wanted to be reconciled with his pastor. Pastor Pagsugerion and his wife, small, frail, and weighing hardly a hundred pounds each, were delighted to respond.

The next day, Cervesa continued the process which he had begun. We were invited to his home for a large and bountiful reconciliation feast. Also invited was a cousin with whom he had not spoken for thirty-six years. That day, they too were reconciled. It was the first and only reconciliation feast I have attended. What a joyous time!

Today, thirty-three years after the event, I have reason to believe that the change was authentic and enduring.

Reconciliation. By definition, it means getting right with God and with those around us. It's as simple as that. The truth is that you can never be right with God so long as you hate your brother or sister.

Not every pastor needs a reconciliation kiss now and then, but some do. In this readership there are no doubt those who need to reconcile with the Lord and with others, perhaps even your pastor. We would love to hear of reconciliation feasts being held everywhere.