Parting with grace

Christian goodbyeby Richard Mansel, managing editor

With the troubled economy, we find people moving more often to different parts of the country to find jobs.

This creates a heartbreaking situation where Christians must part. However, as God’s people, we can have a positive perspective on this parting, despite the pain.

We grow to love our fellow Christians, as we labor, worship and fellowship together. The bond is powerful, with Christ wound throughout.

George Eliot said, “Only in the parting do we look into the depths of love.”/1

Separated by great distance, the impact of the loss becomes palpable. Yet we should not wait that long. We must share the Christian love we have with one another while we can.

By God’s grace (Acts 2:38,47; Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 1:22-23), we have the extraordinary blessing of forming special relationships with the best people on earth (Ephesians 2:19).

If we will not enjoy this blessing to the fullest, we have starved ourselves in the midst of a glorious feast.

In Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” the two lovers are parting for the night. Juliet says, “Parting is such sweet sorrow.” They fully expected to see one another again.

Without Christ, we do not have these assurances. The writer of Hebrews warns us, “it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27, NKJV). We have no hope of a joyous reunion without salvation.

“Parting is such sweet sorrow,” for the Christian. We part, knowing we may not see one another on this earth. Yet, we have the promise of an eternity together in total, uninterrupted bliss (Revelation 21:1-4).

As Paul is close to heading to Rome for his appointment with death, he meets with the Ephesian elders. He delivers his message, then “Then they all wept freely, and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spoke, that they would see his face no more. And they accompanied him to the ship” (Acts 20:37-38).

This poignant scene is a powerful example of the bonds we can develop as Christians. If only we felt this strongly for one another!

Goodbyes are not forever.
Goodbyes are not the end.
They simply mean I’ll miss you
Until we meet again! /2

2/ Ibid.

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