Kiss of Death
I only learnt this year that the term ‘Kiss of death’ – arguably comes from Judas betraying Jesus with a kiss.
Some people argue it was a Maffia phrase - if the Don gave you a kiss it was a sign that your future was …let’s say bleak! But it is not hard to see how that Mafia phrase comes from Judas - a kiss to point out the one to take away – a kiss of death – the death to come. In fact the ‘kiss of death’ is a relatively recent phrase. Before 1940 people were more likely to say a ‘Judas Kiss’.
Learning this origin of the phrase reminded me of the painful irony - that packaged in something intended to convey closeness and warmth of a relationship – a kiss – Jesus is betrayed.
Thinking of this reminded me of an old piece of writing about kisses by Karen Hall printed in ‘Rap, Rhyme and Reason’ by Anita Haigh (Scripture Union)
It is a very short reading about kisses which could be used on Good Friday or any other time as a reflective reading. Karen Hall writes:
‘There are ‘Aah, goo! What a lovely baby then? Type kisses
There are ‘There, there! Don’t cry – Mummy’ll kiss it better type kisses.
There are sloppy yukky, ‘Auntie’s come to visit’ type kisses
There are ‘At last we’re alone’ type kisses.
There are ‘With this ring I thee wed’ type kisses.
There is the kiss
‘This is the man you want – kill him.’