Greet the Beloved

Whist out walking recently, I passed a sign urging me to ‘Say Hi’ to fellow walkers and bridle-path users. My, how innocent were those halcyon, pre-Covid days. Still, it struck me as odd that someone had felt the need to erect it. Were they expecting a detachment of Londoners in these parts, encouraging them to partake of our northern charm? Urging them to go native, not to be unduly worried by the prospect of a stranger proffering unsolicited greeting?

Hi is an irritating Americanism, although it’s a rather convenient word with which to begin emails, and it’s short enough to put on a little sign. Its origins are actually fifteenth-century English, the word a variation of ‘hey’, a term of exclamation, drawing attention to something.

In the sixteenth chapter of Romans, I counted 16 greetings (though the number increases if one counts the names of those greeted) exchanged by the apostle. Verse 12, for example:

Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, who have laboured in the Lord. Greet the beloved Persis, who laboured much in the Lord.

Is there not something wonderful when believers greet each other? It might be via a card or text message, rather than a handshake or embrace, but the practice so beloved by Paul we should strive to continue. Why don’t you contact someone today? You don’t wish to borrow something, or ask a favour, you simply want to say ‘hey, I’m here, and I am thinking and praying for you’. The blessing you may give will surely outweigh the effort spent.