There are many different ways of greeting that obviously also convey different messages. Here in Africa some people show respect by touching their right hand with their left hand when they shake your hand. When someone does this while greeting me, it gives me a good feeling inside and I thank that person warmly for the beautiful gesture.
I like to hug people, because it shows them a piece of your heart. You show that you really care. Life is so empty and we really need to show we care, especially when we greet one another.
In his book, God praat Afrikaans, Hemelbesem explains how important greeting is in his culture (my translation):
When coloured people greet one another, it’s a looong business. It’s probably true in other cultures as well, but it’s definitely something about my people that I appreciate. Nearly all your senses become part of the greeting.
Obviously, you greet with words, but it’s as if words are not enough. It must be said and done. Say it and display it! Touching is so important for one’s existence. We share a kind of energy when we touch one another.
Wow, well said and so true. We say, “hallo” to others, ask how they are, and often don’t listen to their response. But when you greet with feeling and touching, you sort of enter into that person’s personal bubble. Where it is safe to be honest and mumble more than the usual stopgap phrase: “All good, and you?”.
For us as Christians a proper greeting is a must. Even Paul recommended it: 26Greet all the followers of Jesus there with a holy embrace.
We must greet one another warmly, i.e. whole-heartedly, with feeling, and with caring. When Christians greet one another, we wish each other spiritual and eternal peace. We know where we’re going and we confirm it in our greeting. In a way, we then also show the world that we care and are sincerely interested in one another’s wellbeing.
When we greet, we also have to bless. It’s more than good wishes and in effect a prayer that Jesus’ grace will be with that person everywhere. Therefore, I now pray with Paul for you too: May 28The amazing grace of Jesus Christ be with you!
May you spread that same greeting and blessing everywhere you go. May people be different because you touched their lives.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-28
Are you really interested when you greet others?
Do others experience Christ when you greet them?
To whom do you need to reach out today?
Jesus, thank you for your abundant blessings, goodness and peace all around us. Please help me convey that to others. Amen.