Friday, April 18, 2014
I was barely out of my car, just arriving to a new community and a new congregation and my neighbor was there to greet me, to make introductions and to begin a lasting friendship. Over the years our friendship grew from that one simple greeting. There would be many more and they always seemed to come just at the right time. At times he arrived early in the morning before I left for the day to greet me with his stories from the trout stream at first light. At other times he arrived in the middle of the afternoon in my study just to check in. He was ready too for a greeting from across the street at the end of a busy day.
When the risen Jesus met the women on their way he embraced them with “Greetings!” At first it must have seemed out of place. But it was a sure sign that the darkness had given way to a whole new light. For the women who had been to the tomb it was a greeting that came just at the right time! It was a reassuring way of bringing to realty again the promise of God’s presence. It was a beautiful word that spoke to their fears and gave them courage to move forward with great joy. In the story the greeting led to worship and worship led to sharing the news with others.
In the story of the resurrection we hear the echo of the psalmist words, “By the Lord has this been done; it is marvelous in our eyes.”
Throughout Lent, our children helped with the greeting in worship: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” We were glad for their participation as it brought some renewal to what otherwise might only feel routine. It gave us a new appreciation for the part we all share in forming friendships that naturally lead to our daily witness.
It may seem like a small thing but with eyes of faith our greetings point us to the very goodness of God among us full of mercy and love.