The Nod

Published on May 4th, 2016 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0
The Nod

The Nod

I was walking through Home Depot the other day and I found that I was catching the eyes of fellow men shoppers as we walked through the aisles. When our eyes would meet across the dusty aisles filled with paint scrapers and battery operated tools we would connect for that brief moment and then give…The Nod. It is almost an imperceptible bob of the head that means and says to your fellow shopper…ok, not sure what it is supposed to mean. I just know it is what you do when you catch another man’s eyes. It got me thinking about how we often greet each other. So many of these greetings are simply designed to get those of us who are awkward with small talk over the initial hump of those first few seconds in which we never know the proper protocol. I seem to always get it wrong. I go for the hand shake when the other person is going for the hug or I stand there stammering like an idiot because I am not fast with names. So we say intelligent things like, “Yo” or “Hey” or we rapid fire questions like “How are you doin’? How’s the family? Work going ok?” I am not sure we are even listening to the answers. We just want some time for our minds to slow down and catch up so that we don’t say something really stupid and we can figure out who in the world we are talking with.

Greetings used to be a little more meaningful. Especially for all of us older folks who remember writing letters. If you are part of the younger generation, letters were written on paper, placed in an envelope, mailed, and the recipient would get that letter a few days later (hopefully). They took a lot longer to accomplish than emails or texts and they certainly took a lot more thought. You usually didn’t just jump into what you wanted to say and so you would start the letter off with some kind of greeting. When you read the greeting you pictured the person and felt their desire to communicate with you. You even ended the letter with some kind of salutation that was always read. I can’t remember the last time I have read a salutation from an email.

Did you know that in every one of Paul’s letters in the Bible he begins with a greeting that says “grace to you” and that he ends the letter with “grace with you”? Now I don’t think Paul was simply trying to get over the awkwardness of beginning and ending a conversation. He was trying to say something. What do you think he was trying to say by beginning and ending each letter with grace? What do you think he meant by saying “grace TO you” and then “grace WITH you”? John Piper believes that Paul was referring to the fact that he was about to share with them the Word of God and this was going to be the grace that came “to” you as you read the Word. As you rolled up the parchment and went out into the evil world, this grace, if kept in your heart, would go “with” you. Paul began his letters as we begin our Christian lives, with grace. He ends his letters as we will end our lives and will spend eternity, with grace. Your life today, the moment you are living right now, is in grace and full of grace. My desire for you, and I trust your desire for me, is to not only experience the saving grace of God through the Lord Jesus but to also receive the grace he has for us today. Now that is a greeting and a salutation that means something.

I just don’t think that I can walk through Home Depot bestowing God’s grace upon every man I catch eyes with. I believe it is probably better to leave those greetings to a nod. But maybe we can agree that in our emails, in our conversations with our brothers and sisters, in our daily texts about mundane issues of life, maybe we can take some time every once in a while to wish God’s grace upon one another. To remind each other that we are so blessed to live each day receiving the grace of God. Maybe we can also remember that our eternal lives begin with grace and will be grace filled for the rest of eternity. When we become proficient at wishing grace we can then go on to those things that Paul adds to his desire for grace…peace, love, and mercy. But baby steps first!

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