Christianity teaches that human beings are created in the image of God. This means that all of us have surpassing dignity that is sacred and worth protecting. Christianity also teaches that God is One divine being eternally existing as three persons: The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. This means that the divine image in humans applies to us not only as individuals, but it also applies to us as families. God is Trinitarian. Human beings are Communitarian.
One of the many ways the Bible communicates the sacredness of human image bearers is through names. These important words have the special task of standing for our very selves–like diplomats for dignitaries. As such, they should be treated with special care.
If a dignitary were to visit your home; you would be careful to observe whatever protocol was necessary to communicate the appropriate amount of respect due their person and office. You would need to be aware of special titles, and how to use their name.
This is why personal greetings–whenever possible, by name–are so important. We are saying: “You are special; Your name is sacred; I see you; You belong; We’re glad you’re here; We’re glad we’re together”–whenever we engage in this holy practice.
It’s so easy to fall into habits of disregard. Unfortunately, and especially, with those we love the most. No wonder society reports epidemic levels of loneliness, ironically, in a technological age that has us falsely believing that we are more connected than ever.
Will you help me push back? Will you be quick to honor the presence of those around you?