The wave heard around the world. Well, at least part way around the world. There I was sitting in our Airbnb in Pahoa, Hawaii worshiping online with Oregon City when something strange happened. At the end of worship Steve and Kalene turned around and waved at me. Well, that was sweet and kind of them to remember me while I was away. It wasn’t until I got home that I learned the rest of the story. We have some online members who we haven’t physically met. One was visiting with Kalene on the phone and mentioned that she didn’t know what she looked like. So, Kalene told her that she and Steve would wave at them at the end of worship so they would know who they were. Interesting enough, another online member told her that they were glad that they waved at them. Steve and Kalene were waving at one couple, but apparently most of the viewers thought they were greeting them.
Last year, Craig Benjamin, who is now one of the elders at the southwest church of Christ made the news. Craig walks 8 miles nearly every day through Tigard. He began waving to every single person that he saw. He started doing this when COVID had shut everything down and people were feeling isolated. He thought it was important that every person should feel seen and acknowledged. He’s become a beloved figure in Tigard. Folks may not know his name, but they love the “happy waving man.” They did a segment on FOX12 news describing the positive impact he was making on the community.
When Jesus spoke about loving our neighbor as ourselves in the “Sermon of the Mount,” He followed up with the rhetorical question, “if you greet only your family and friends, what more are you doing than others? Even the Gentiles do the same. When Jesus begins talking about greeting our enemies, I often think, we don’t even greet our family and friends most of the time.
A wave, a nod, a smile, a few words can be a simple greeting that says you’re acknowledged, you’re important, you’re not unnoticed. In the Bible the word “Greet” means to address with expressions of kind wishes; to salute in kindness and respect. It’s a word that appears often in Scripture. In Romans 16 alone it’s repeated 17 times. There’s an impact whenever we acknowledge others. You never know what a simple wave can do. And the good news is anyone can wave!