There is so much power in a greeting. Years ago, we had to greet everybody with a kiss. Sometimes it was really gross. Nataniël has this story about the aunt with the mole that you had to dodge, or the other one who had such flabby lips that it left you wondering whether she had forgotten her false teeth that morning. At least nowadays we’re more into hugs.
And men as well! In the beginning this was quite funny, but as I got used to it, I realised that a hug conveys so much more than a firm handshake. In a way it communicates caring, warmth, respect, friendship and so much more.
We were going out for the evening and my son was excited to be ordering a take-away pizza via Uber, which for him, offers some variety from his mom’s cooking.
Before long the doorbell went. After a while my son came back with the pizza with one piece already gone. I commented with surprise that he must have been very hungry to have already eaten a slice on the way from the front door to the kitchen.
He replied: “Nope, I gave it to the guy who delivered the pizza.” But why, I asked. My son said: “When the man who delivered the pizza handed it to me, he touched his right elbow with his left hand. You know, Dad, that’s the way they convey respect. So I made the appropriate response from my side and shared a pizza slice with him.”
Wow! Here something happened that is more than a greeting. Two people who don’t know one another at all walk away changed. Walk away with a smile in their hearts and a tummy that is a little fuller. That’s how it should be. When we end up in one another’s space, even for just one fleeting moment, we should walk away changed, better, nicer, more.
Maybe Paul understood something of greeting, because he always spoke something good over the readers at the end of his letters. Here at the end of Titus, it’s no different: 15… Grace to all of you. Or as The Living Bible puts it: 15… May God’s blessings be with you all.
And don’t we all need such a heap of blessing and grace and goodness? In a way, that is exactly what my son did. The deliveryman experienced something of God’s goodness – through a slice of pizza in his tummy.
Somewhere in my head I put a reminder to myself to greet people differently from now on. There are so many hungry people out there, people who long for just one small piece of grace, one slice of goodness. God’s pantry is filled with it and is looking for a takeaway window to share it.
Let’s make our front doors and windows like that and let us be the channel through which God’s grace and goodness can flow to others. Let’s greet people and bless them with God’s grace. Every day, every time.
That’s why I’m opening my window now, here on your screen, and I greet you: May God’s grace flow over you and may God’s grace be more than enough for you. May you fill up because God goes with you everywhere.
Who can you bless?
Who must you bless?
When are you going to do it?
Father, thank you for all your grace. It is more than enough for me. Amen.