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Every language, evidently, has a word or phrase for saying good-bye, and often even multiple options for doing so. Most of them have the general meaning either of wishing the person well (often in the context of God’s grace) or of our hope to see them again. “Good bye” comes from “God be with ye;” “farewell” comes from “fare thee well;” “see you later”—well that one’s pretty obvious!
Today we say good-bye to the Prince family. They have blessed our church family for three years in numerous ways. In a large church like Christ Church, it is a reality we live with: People will come into our midst. We will get to know them and love them. Circumstances will take them away. Such times will often have an element of grief connected to them. There is a sadness that accompanies any departure.
I often remind people that one of God’s chief intentions in creating humans is that we live in relationship—with Him and with one another. It’s what we are made for. But with any relationship there is the very real possibility of loss. And the greater the love, the greater the grief. I hope we all realize, though, the foolishness of avoiding relationships in order to lower the risk. Paul Simon’s song, I am a Rock, is almost a prophetic word to those so tempted: “I’ve built walls, / A fortress deep and mighty, / That none may penetrate. / I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.”
It is helpful, instead, to remember Jesus’s encouragement to His disciples on the eve of His departure. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you…. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (Jn. 14:27). He has given us new life, and all our relationships can be viewed in the context of His Resurrection. Paul the Apostle reminds us that we “do not grieve as others do who have no hope.” We abide in Christ’s love, and thereby ‘risk’ doing life together with our fellow believers, knowing that we have eternity to live it out.
So, fare thee well to Tripp, Rachel, Lily, Emmie, and Charlie. We commend you to God and pray for His Shalom to guard and keep you.
And we look forward to seeing you again!
The Rev. Jeff RawnPastoral Care, Men & Mission
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