At Berkeley, we have a unique greeting system. Vikki, our music director, says good morning and then immediately calls people into song and praise with our gathering song.
Before announcements and introductions and anything else, we sing together. The greeting covers everything from the first words out of Vikki’s mouth to our opening hymn.
This is a deliberate and intentional part of worship. The Greeting is when we have been gathered. Of course, some people come in late. Sometimes preachers come in late, but the worshipping community Greets the Lord.
In Old English the word, greet comes from gretan which can mean attack but also salute or take hold of. hearpan gretan means to play the harp. A Greeting in worship is not just a vain “Hi, how are you?” It is not an ice breaker. It is the people saluting God and God taking hold of us.
We sing together. We hear about the life of the church. We pray during the prelude, and then we receive a call to worship the Lord.
This is intentional time, even though it may seem ad hoc. We greet the Lord and the Lord takes hold of us. This is God’s time, kairos time. Let God take hold of you. May the greeting not be passive for anyone, but an active intention to be present before God and the community of the faith. A time to discern if there are new people who can be welcomed and greeted. A time to contemplate who God is and what God has done during the prelude. A time to worship the Lord.