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 16:15
It has been so very long since we have been in church. That last Sunday we were able to worship together the storm clouds of Corona virus had already begun to gather. There were many empty seats in the sanctuary and our greetings were careful and interspersed by the frequent use of hand sanitizer stations that suddenly dotted our lobby. No one knew that this would be the last time we would see one another outside of a computer screen or an occasional meeting in a driveway. Whether you normally greet one another with handshakes or hugs and kisses; we are all feeling the loss of being cut off from one another. Our longing to meet again face to face is a natural expression of the love of Christ and is reflected in Paul’s farewell chapter of the book of Romans.
It is astonishing how at the end of this long and highly doctrinal letter that the Apostle can greet by name dozens of people in a city to which he has never yet traveled. Whatever the practical explanation for that, it is a reflection of the heart of Jesus who the gospel says had compassion on the people because they were as sheep without a shepherd.
On the day of our return to church we must remember the special value there is in greeting one another, whether by a holy kiss or a socially safe elbow bump. Those missing faces in our lives are our brothers and sisters and how we will rejoice on the day when we can once more we can say hello again!