All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household. Philippians 4:22 (NIV).
Here we are in Corona-induced shutdown and we’re chomping at the bit for social interaction. Can’t travel for work (if folks are still working); can’t go out to eat; can’t go to church; a mile-long list of “can’t” seems to be the phrase of the day. Seeing as how this is April 1st, it would seem like this list of “can’ts” is a huge April Fools joke…except it isn’t.
What we can do is send each other greetings in the name of the Lord. We can especially send greetings to people who are hurting through all this. Paul sent greetings (from Rome) from people who worked in the Emperor’s palace. Think of that for a moment: there were Christians – followers of this new and “subversive” sect known as “The Way” – who served the Emperor of Rome, who was hostile to such things. Those people were in very real danger, yet they believed anyway. They were unknown heroes of the faith.
Just like first responders who are working exhausting hours during this crisis. Just like my friend whose father died early this week and they are stoically making plans to memorialize him after all the crisis has passed. Just like another friend who announced just yesterday that he is discontinuing his stage 4 cancer treatments because the cancer is winning and he’d rather trust God exclusively with the rest of his life. If you think about it, I bet you could send greetings from and to dozens, even hundreds, of people who are living their lives in faithful strength (and strong faith) through terrible circumstances.
Yet we don’t need to suffer to benefit from greetings. I got a letter from a friend in Arizona last week that brightened my day considerably. On my work project (that just last week was wearing me down) I got a few “kudos” just this morning. Last week, I met most of my neighbors on our cul-de-sac and we were all glad to simply see other people.
If you think about it, maybe that’s one of the blessings of this quarantine: we get to find ways to connect (and re-connect) with others. I can think of many people who have fallen off my radar; this is an opportunity for us to re-connect, at least greet each other and check on each other. We’re going through this shared experience: let’s use it to rebuild our human connections and share some Jesus in the doing.
So that’s my challenge to you today. Reach out to a friend. Call your mom, dad, or sibling. Message a friend who is working hard through all this. Share a kind word in the name of Jesus today.
For further reading: Philippians 4:23.
Lord Jesus, I’m sharing Your Name of greetings, love, and peace today. Encourage me to do this with everyone, especially people with whom I haven’t communicated recently.