“Never part without loving words to think of during your absence. It may be that you will not meet again in this life.” – A quote from Jean Paul Richter, German writer (1763-1825) who happened to be a romantic humorous writer though I don’t see anything funny in this quote, romantic perhaps!
“Every parting is a form of death, as every reunion is a type of heaven.” – Tryon Edwards, American theologian (1809-1894) great grandson of the famous preacher Jonathan Edwards, Tryon was more famous for his quotes such as this one, in fact he created a Dictionary of Quotes.
Throughout our lives we have had to learn to say good-bye and we have been helped by poetry, pictures and prose to do such that. Who remembers these lyrics?
There are places I’ll remember; All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better; Some have gone, and some remain
All these places had their moments; With lovers and friends, I still can recall
Some are dead, and some are living; In my life, I’ve loved them all
But of all these friends and lovers; There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning; When I think of love as something new
Though I know I’ll never lose affection; For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them; In my life, I’ll love you more
The Beatles, 1965. If you remember it then I’ve probably put the tune into your mind, sorry! But for those like me who weren’t around (just) well, it’s just another song of moving words of good-bye of which there are many.
We are drawing near to the end of the Apostle’s letter to the Ephesians. He is about to hand it to Tychicus to take it to them. How will he end it?
I love the Message translation, “Good-bye, friends.”
The NIV, “Peace to the brothers and sisters,and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ …” Ephesians 6: 23-24
What would you say if it was your final words to someone you love?
Perhaps the Apostle remembers the time when on the journey to Jerusalem he had called the Ephesians elders to travel to him so he could say good-bye properly to them. In Acts 20:37 “They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him.” Paul had said his farewell speech, they had knelt and prayed and embraced and then they all cried together.
Maybe this is in his mind, what does he now say to all the believers knowing he will never see them again? How do we say good-bye to someone?
Peace – it has been clear in his letter that Paul wants them to know they have peace with God and that they should also have peace with one another.
Have a total desire that the person you say good-bye to will know this peace in every circumstance and chapter of their life.
“Don’t be afraid, you are my brother/sister, you are in the family of God and you belong to Him. He will guard you and protect you. Peace. Step into wholeness, live with a clear conscience, move with integrity so you can withstand the accuser of your soul and the voices of doubt in your mind. Peace.”
Love with faith – do you remember how Paul started his letter? “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” That was his opening doxology and he ends with a blessing again from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Have a total desire that the person you say good-bye to will know the love of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Don’t forget you are incredibly loved, let your faith in Him fuel your knowledge of His love. It is His love. He is not angry with you so let go of your anger towards others. Breathe love. Be love. Love yourself. Don’t harbour hurts, forgive others and forgive yourself for the Lord Jesus Christ sacrificed His life that you may know you are loved.”
Grace to all – Do you remember how Paul has already spoken of our blessings regarding the riches of God’s grace? God’s grace is a daily reality for us all to explore.
Have a total desire that the person you say good-bye to will know courage that comes from grace enabling them to journey through whatever pain they experience in this next chapter.
“Don’t let go of grace. Fight for it. The Pharisees are everywhere, the grace-killers. The fight for grace is the fight against performance. Grace is treasure, you have it so don’t let go. It will give you endurance, it will secure you and will enable you. Go in grace.”
We all have to say goodbye. But how we do is really important. Paul blesses us with timeless and precious words. He says one more thing and we will see that tomorrow. But for now let me close this blog with the powerful words of Snoopy from the Peanuts cartoon!
“Why can’t we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together? I guess that wouldn’t work. Someone would leave. Someone always leaves. Then we would have to say good-bye. I hate good-byes. I know what I need. I need more hellos.”