The Graces of Greetings

Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life, to whom I give thanks… Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in Asia. Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me. Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my beloved Stachys. Greet Apelles, who is approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the family of Aristobulus. Greet my kinsman Herodion. Greet those in the Lord who belong to the family of Narcissus. Greet those workers in the Lord, Tryphaena and Tryphosa. Greet the beloved Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord. Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother, who has been a mother to me as well. Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers who are with them. Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.” Romans 16:3-16

That so many words of the inspired word of God are devoted to this list of names gives us insight into how God values relationships within His body. At the end of this doctrinally rich, intellectually meaty, spiritually edifying tome of a letter, Paul takes time to greet dozens of saints by name, his expressed appreciation and love gracing each with value and affection. His list of fellow workers, fellow prisoners, whole churches and families, gives proof of meaningful relationships he has forged over his ministry. We can imagine, as he mentions each one, a smile, a squeezing of the heart in remembrance, a softly spoken blessing, a closing of the eyes in particular thankfulness.

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In the body of Christ, as each is in a different place, owns different gifts, personalities, even quirks and idiosyncrasies, the glue of the Spirit binds us together in a special, unshakable unity. Paul’s lavish display of love and thankfulness for those who have helped him, come alongside him in work, suffered with him, sacrificed, taught, planned, led, hosted, discipled, built up Christ’s church, should inspire us to such gratitude and deliberate expression. Do we take the time to marvel at those God has placed us alongside? (Romans 8:15-16; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Ephesians 4:1-7; Philippians 1:3-5)

How can I ‘greet’ others today? When will I send or speak a message of encouragement or gratitude, a needed reminder of cogent truth, a blessing of hope or peace? Have I paused to contemplate God’s grace to me? When I do, out of thankfulness, I can be a conduit of His grace to others. Am I willing, and determined?

Father, make my life and words a gift to others within Your body. Use me to greet them with encouragement and Your favor, to shower them with truth and light. May the grace You have so generously afforded me flow through me to bless and uplift others.

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