For the most part, I don’t like goodbyes.

I had to say goodbye last night to an old friend who is moving away.  Sad.  And don’t even get me started on how awful the goodbyes are at Newark Liberty Airport when I’m leaving my family to come back to Florida after a visit home.  Sad.  Tears are usually involved.

There are casual goodbyes at work on Friday afternoons, and more emotional goodbyes at airports and in driveways when loved ones are leaving.   I don’t like the emotional ones because they usually mean the end to a special time, whether it be years of living close to a friend, or a few days with a wonderful family.

But I found out that a “goodbye” is actually a blessing.  Up until the late 14th Century, people didn’t say goodbye.  They said, “God be with you”.  That’s where the word “goodbye” came from.   And if you read through the letters in the Bible, you’ll see that the writers almost always ended them with a similar blessing.  They may have been ending a letter, but they left the reader with a promise of God’s presence and provision, His grace and His peace.

God knows that it’s hard for us to not know what comes next, what comes after a goodbye.  He knows that we’d like to know what will happen to us and to our friends and families and our circumstances after the car drives away and the plane takes off.  And we can’t know.  But we can say with expectation and assurance, “God be with you”.

And what better way than that to end a special time?

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.  Romans 16:23

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.   2 Corinthians 13:14

The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.  Grace be with you.  Amen.                          2 Timothy 4:22

Peace to you all who are in Christ Jesus.  Amen.  1 Peter 5:14

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