Cultures develop their own unique greetings. In American culture, we shake hands or hug. In Italian or Arabic culture, they kiss. Asians prefer to bow. Maoris touch noses.
High-fives, fist-bumps, and dance-moves all have their place, too.
It declares, “I’m focused. I’m listening. I’m fully attentive to you.” The word has power. It transcends a simple hello. It says more than howdy or gidday. It speaks to presence. Sawubona: “I see you.”
But here’s the twist.
Before you could, would, or should say sawubona, I ought to say sikhona: “I am here to be seen.” These three short syllables express my vulnerability. “I bring myself fully into this moment. I am what you see. I present myself to you without secrecy or duplicity or hypocrisy. I am here to be seen.”
First sikhona. “I am here to be seen.” Then sawubona. “I see you.” It’s rich. It invites relationship, in a way that “hi” does not.
The story of Scripture declares that God first walked in the Garden of Eden, then later walked in the Garden of Gethsemane. He became flesh and dwelt among us, that we might see Him. On one occasion, Jesus told His disciples, “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father” (John 14:9). The Father whispered, through the Son, sikhona. “I am here to be seen.”
God has not hidden Himself from us. He reveals Himself through creation, and most fully through Christ. Even the Revelation affirms that in the end “the dwelling place of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them” (Revelation 21:3). Indeed, the glorious name of the eternal city will be YHWH-shammah: “The Lord is there.” Sikhona. “I am here to be seen.”
The only part of the biblical-human story that remains uncertain is whether or not we shall reply with a strong sawubona. “I see you.”
The work of Satan continues to blind the eyes of those in darkness. Veils continue to shroud the minds and hearts of the wicked and the complacent. Ignorance and denial continue to flow from the mouths of those who don’t see. Suffering sometimes shuts our eyes.
The coming of Christ (Christmas) provided the ultimate divine greeting. Sikhona. “I am here to be seen.”
What do you see or not see in this moment? Pause for a moment right now. Open your heart. Be truly Present. Perhaps today we can respond to Him: Sawubona. “I see you!”