Guten morgen. Buenos Dias, Bon dia. Guete Morga. Buongiorno. Selamat pagi. Dobroe utro. In various languages and cultures all over the world, we greet each other every morning with a simple but profound greeting. It is best spoken with eye contact and a smile and is equally meaningful among family, friends and strangers, a way of acknowledging our common existence and bestowing upon others our best wishes for their welfare. We share the greeting on the beach, in the park, on busy city streets, in the workplace and the home. I have exchanged this familiar greeting with others in Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, Russia, Indonesia, Guatemala, Colombia and Brazil.
Last week, I strolled along the seawall in Galveston at sunrise and was greeted by others who were walking, jogging or simply watching the sun rise. They were old and young, men and women, white, brown and black. Their simple “good morning” seemed to say, “I recognize your humanity, that you exist and you are here, that though I do not know you and will likely never see you again, though I know not from whence you came nor whither you may go, we occupy together this passing moment in time when the sun is rising over the sea.” We shared the sun’s red glow among the gray clouds and the rippled red reflection on the waves that lap against the sand where sea gulls waddle on spindly stick legs, perpetual beachcombers, searching for treasure. We filled our lungs with the cool morning air, awake and alive to a new day and answered one another, “Good morning.”
All creation celebrates the dawning of a new day. The birds, it seems, do it best. I have often watched their mystic ritual at the dawn of day. They seem to be surprised each and every morning, as if they wonder through the night if the sun will yet rise. When it does, they are delirious with joy. In the forests, a single bird chirps the first signal of the graying dawn, awakening another, and another, until by the time the flaming ball of fire rises in the east they have joined their songs in a chorus of celebration.
It is much the same way with God who greets us at sunrise, a moment when God seems to make eye contact with us and smile, affirming His pleasure in having created us and having given us life. That is why David says, “In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” (Ps 5:3). “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.(Ps. 90:14). And again, “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” (Ps 143:8).