Many churches have a tradition of having visitors fill out a visitors’ card that states their names and their home churches. During a time of welcome, the cards are read aloud for the congregation to hear the names of those who are visiting. The visitors have the opportunity to bring greetings from their home churches. This tradition is rooted in the acknowledgement of the common bond in Christ that is shared by churches all over the world.
Paul closed his letter to the Philippians with a series of greetings to the saints of Jesus Christ. He mentions both the people of God who are in Philippi and the people of God with him in Rome who sent their greetings. No matter where they were geographically and no matter what their material circumstances, they shared the bond of being “in Christ Jesus” (v. 21).
In verse 22, Paul sent greetings to the church from believers he had met in prison. Some were imprisoned alongside of him, but his other greetings came from “those who belong to Caesar’s household.” The household of Caesar referred to any of the persons, slaves or free, living within the palace. Being a member of Caesar’s household, no matter what the rank, gave a person a certain amount of privilege. How the message of Christianity infiltrated the ranks of Caesar is not known, but Paul had met like-minded believers even in that unlikely setting.
Paul concluded this book with greetings that emphasized the value of Christian community. As we rejoice in our Savior, we also recognize the value of our deep connection with fellow believers. They support us, pray with us, and rejoice with us, in good times and in bad. The friendship of the saints is utterly vital to our Christian walk.