Sunday, June 28, 2009

6/28- Saying Goodbye

Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

6/28- Farewells

6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (II Timothy 4:6-8)
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters.” (Gal. 6:18)

Calvin: Farewell, most excellent and respected brother. We have a new subject for sorrow in the death of Peter Martyr. Our brother Beza is still in the camp. Ribitte went to Orleans about six months ago, being called thither to discharge the functions of a teacher. May the Lord preserve you in safety, and enrich you more and more with his gifts. My colleagues very respectfully salute you. — Yours, John Calvin.(1562 letter)

I guess this is a personal blog today. Today my last child, my son, goes off to college. He leaves after church. Kay and I have had 24 years of children, and this is a big gear shift (they call it the “empty nest”). We have loved all of our kids, and God has been really good to us giving us great children. John Calvin had a son who died in infancy and a few other miscarriages. He wrote his famous statement, “I had a son…but I have many children.”
So today I thought about farewells. Calvin’s formula in his letters for saying goodbye is similar to what is above: “farewell most excellent…then he says a word about those they mutually know- usually first the people Calvin knows there, and then the people known by the recipient of the letter. Paul was usually beginning and ending his letters with a blessing commonly involving “grace and peace” and commending their faith. Saying goodbye to friends or loved ones is an important act. I have sometimes heard people grieve saying, “I never had a chance to say goodbye.” Frankly, because of my wife’s leukemia, I am relieved that Kay and I are both alive to see this day. Also because my son is deathly allergic to peanuts, has had asthma, and has been to the doctor’s office or hospital 14 times with broken bones, I am glad he is alive too. Whenever Paul and Calvin wrote anyone, they always were concerned about their faith. So I am always concerned about the faith of my children and the folks in my church and community (and world). My son will be in my prayers today especially. We all should pray for our families, and cherish the opportunity to say goodbye- saying it with grace, peace, and faith.

Prayer: Lord, saying goodbye is a hard but necessary thing to do. Thank you for human love, and for your great mercy. We commend those we love to you, and ask your blessing upon them.

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