Ciao, leihuo, Sunnu, ola, Salam, G’Day, Hello! It doesn’t matter where you are from, it is always friendly to greet one another. We might have different phrases, but these brief rituals help us negotiate relationships – I am a friend, I see you, will you be a friend? This is communicated through word and body language. From this momentary interaction, we determine whether people are friendly, if they have time for us, if we have time for them.
In festive seasons we can be in crowds of strangers. How have you felt? Awkward, out of place? Have you scanned the crowd to find a friend? Has anyone new to you said “Hi”? What is it like then when people include you in their community? What it is like when others make you feel welcome?
This is what we want when people come to church and our church events. We want people to feel welcomed, included, valued. To do this we need to notice them. You need to notice them. We can start this by simply smiling and saying “G’Day.” I cannot emphasise enough how helpful it is when people welcome one another. This simple ritual can move a crowd of strangers towards community. It can make a church welcoming, instead of excluding. I keep emphasising it, because it is easy to regress. We can scan the crowd to be with friends and miss welcoming the other people who surrounded us.
So “say G’Day” to everyone. Not just this Sunday, or at our Street Party, but every Sunday. Why not make it a habit? The world could do with more friendly people.