Echoes of spaceships and aliens and things sci-fi sound when I hear the word. Something like, “Greetings! We come in peace!”
“Who even says or sends greetings anymore outside the sci-fi genre?” I’m tempted to ask.
Truth be told, the word is not obsolete. It’s high on the politeness scale–translation, it’s a word in formal usage; so it just feels old-fashioned in my thirtysomething ears.
Greetings fell into my lap this morning as I wrapped up another round of Writing God’s Word. This past month I’ve been writing out 2 Timothy, and inspiration wasn’t done yet! Who knew that one simple word–GREETINGS–was to stand out today?
I dug into the GREEK word translated into our English greetings to discover rich layers.
GREET ASPAZOMAI draw to oneself, salute, greet, bid welcome, wish well, receive joyfully, WELCOME
In greetings, we find intentional connection one with another.
Greetings beckons and compels response.
Greetings proves our view of others.
Greetings gives me a chance to ask:
Do I wish others well?
Am I in the habit of receiving others with with joy?
Am I in the habit of bidding welcome?
(Okay, that last one feel like an old-fashioned phrase too!)
Each of these spill over with hospitality…a basic truth about humanity is that we naturally long for welcome, high regard, equality, grace, etc.
When I understand that this is how Jesus views me, that He welcomes me, salutes me–literally, draws me to Him–and more, it challenges me to take a look at my reluctance to do the same whenever and where ever that occurs. It prods me to ask about my greetings-efforts. Plus, in the midst of a pandemic-adjusted physical greetings, it encourages me to be all the more intentional, sensitive, and kind.
Think about this.
Paul in 2 Timothy was not only at the end of a letter, but at the end of his life. Striking to me is that he FILLS his goodbyes with greetings.
Salutes. Welcomes. Regards. Wishes. Joy.
I don’t know where I am on the spectrum of years yet to live, but I can certainly take inspiration from those last words by making greetings a part of them all.