Hello, Good Morning, Goodbye! The Lost Art of Greetings
Remember before the time of Facebook statuses and 140-character tweets, there used to be letter writing? Schools used to teach “formal letter writing,” complete with “Dear Mr. or Mrs.” and “Sincerely Yours.” Kids used to have pen pals with whom they exchanged pages and pages of letters.
Nowadays, we barely greet one another. Instead of “hello” or “good morning,” we type an email with “Hey!” Instead of signing off with our name, we use our shortened Twitter username. Messages are filled with at symbols and hashtags. In texts, emails, and Twitter we abbreviate abbreviations: wuz up … c u l8r … ttyl … idn …
Greetings cards with our own signatures are rarely sent anymore. We send email cards or manufactured cards over websites so we don’t have to “hassle with pen and paper.” We type a message and click a button. No personal greetings; no hand-written signatures.
In all of this modern communication, have we lost the art of greeting one another?
The Apostle Paul wrote many letters that we can read in the New Testament. He knew how to greet his fellow friends and believers in the name of the Lord, as well as sign off and say goodbye.
Read how he began his writings …
- “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon)
- “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you.” (Romans)
- “I always thank God for you.” (1 Corinthians)
- “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians, Ephesians)
- “I thank my God every time I remember you.” (Philippians)
- “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you.” (Colossians)
- “We always thank God for all of you.” (1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians)
- “I thank God … as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.” (2 Timothy)
- “I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers.” (Philemon)
I’ll admit … I don’t greet my husband in the morning with “I always thank God for you.” I don’t wake up my children for school by saying, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father!”
I don’t. Most likely, neither do you. But what if we did?
As Paul ended his writings, he made sure his last words were filled with God’s grace and love:
- “To the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ!” (Romans)
- “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love to all of you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Corinthians)
- “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians)
- “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” (Galatians, Philippians, Philemon)
- “Peace to the brothers, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.” (Ephesians)
- “Grace be with you.” (Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, Titus)
- “The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.” (2 Timothy)
Instead of “c u” what if we told one another “Grace be with you!” What if we sent our spouses off to work and our children off to school with “The Lord be with your spirit!” What if we left family members with “Peace to the brothers!”
Our society is rush-rush, hurry-hurry, quick-quick … no time to talk, no time to communicate, no time to spell out greetings, messages, or goodbyes.
But what if once in a while, we took our cue from Paul and delivered the grace, peace, and love of God our Father to others through our greetings and goodbyes? What if our messages for one another were filled with God’s blessings instead of status updates?
Let’s slow down just for today and pass on God’s good and perfect blessings to someone through a greeting, or a message, or a goodbye! I bet you will bless the pants off someone by doing so!
Your Friend Christi
© Christi McGuire, 2012