This past Sunday, my dear friend, Paul, and his beautiful family were visiting our church (and which used to be their church before he headed off to seminary). Paul read Scripture during our service and opened by bringing greetings from the congregation he now serves in Wisconsin to our congregation in Idaho. A decade ago I probably would have thought, “That’s nice,” and promptly forgot about it.
But as the world around me continues to become more hostile to the Christian faith and the proclamation of its life-giving truths, I become more and more comforted by hearing greetings from these other saints. Even these saints I have never met and likely will only meet in the presence of our Lord.
Similar greetings were recorded in the New Testament:
All the saints greet you (2 Corinthians 13:13).
Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you.
All the saints greet you (Philippians 4:21-22).
Greet all your leaders and all the saints. Those who come from Italy send you greetings (Hebrews 13:24).
In the early Christian church, the persecution was real and far worse than what I see around me today. So, I would imagine that these simple greetings were of great comfort and encouragement to them.
As we see apostasy and heresy abound, it is easy to lament that, like Elijah, we fell isolated and alone :
For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away (1 Kings 19:14).
These greetings from the saints are little reminders that God is preserving his remnant and we are most certainly not alone.