For years, when I came to the end of a full work day, I’d be tired. But it was not over. In my tired state, I had to face the tiresome trip home with everyone else wanting to get home.

But then I walked in the back door. Molly and Maddy, the two family beagles, would greet me with tails wagging. Molly wagged her tail so hard it made the rest of her body wag. They were soooo glad to see me.

Their welcome never failed to change my countenance. They made me glad I was home. Their welcome was so exuberant I didn’t mind occasionally cleaning a puddle on the hardwood caused by Molly’s excitement.

An hour later, this scene was replayed when Mary came home. Their enthusiasm was contagious that I joined them in greeting her at the door.

Even as the beagles aged, their enthusiastic greetings never waned. And even after they both died, the exuberant greeting at the back door continued. To this day as soon as I hear the garage door going up announcing Mary’s arrival, I head to the back door. I have no tail to wag, but I do my best to make Mary glad she’s home.

On those occasions she’s home before me, the roles are reversed. She’s standing at the back door with arms open.

We had good role models.

I would love a church where dogs greeted me with a wild abandon that says, “I am so glad you’re here.” But since the Building and Grounds Committee tends to frown on dog hair in the carpet, that role falls to me. And it falls to you.

But don’t save it for the contrived “meet and greet” time in many worship services. “Turn to those around you and greet them …” With that command, I am expected to greet others, and since I don’t have much time, I have to greet you quickly, so I can greet someone else—and then someone else—before time is called.

The best welcomes happen …

  • … in the parking lot
  • … in the hallways
  • … before the worship service begins
  • … after the worship service ends

Greet the guest. Greet the kids. Greet that church member whose name you can;t remember. (Bill? Bob? Billy Bob?) And let that greeting evolve from  “I’m glad to see you” to a conversation.

Why should we enthusiastically welcome others? Because we have the opportunity to worship together … to discuss God’s Word together .. to pray together.

I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor. 1:4).

“All the brothers and sisters here send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss” (16:20).

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thess. 5:11).

We’re family. Welcome home. I’m glad we’re together.

For a printable version: click here.

This post supports the study “Reality Check” in Bible Studies for Life.



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