If you’ll permit me a journey into idealism-land, I had a thought after church this morning. I can’t decide if this point is completely banal or not (or whether it’s just me that’s doing it), but here goes!
I usually go to the 9:30 service on Sundays, while most of the students go to the 11:30. On my way home, I often encounter some of these students, but because I don’t know them, and they don’t know me (other than in a “that guy from church with the brown coat” sort of way) we do not acknowledge each other as we walk pass, save perhaps some awkward eye contact.
It’s kind of an unwritten rule in this country that we keep ourselves to ourselves and don’t bother other people unless there is a pressing need, especially if you don’t really know them (I have an American friend at work, and this amuses her no end). It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that we do not greet each other.
Wouldn’t it be great, though, if we did make a point to greet our brothers and sisters when we saw them, irrespective of whether or not we were acquainted? The reason I think this is that, at least in my experience, even a simple acknowledgement of someone’s presence (especially if accompanied with a smile) is a way of building them up, and, in a culture that discourages it, is in itself an act of Grace.
Paul encourages us to “greet each other with a holy kiss” (Romans 16:16)- while this may be a step too far for us (it was a common greeting back in his day), I think a simple “hello” and a smile to our brothers and sisters could accomplish the same. If nothing else, it makes things an awful lot easier when the time comes to actually meet that person properly.
Why not give it a go?