Because of expected ice storm on Sunday January 9, only 8:30 worship will take place onsite.

April 6, 2023

A Pastoral Word. . .

Pastor Mark Adams

April 6, 2023
I’ve been writing articles for Redland’s church newsletters for over 32 years now. First, there was the Exciting Times. Then came The Sower for many years.  And for the past eight years I’ve been writing this “pastoral word” for The Grace Connection.  All that ends with this issue because the next issue won’t come out until after my retirement has begun.

My imminent departure from the pulpit and The Grace Connection got me thinking of something Sheldon Vanauken shared in his book, A Severe Mercy, which includes several unpublished letters written by C.S. Lewis.

Vanauken tells the story of his last meeting with the beloved Christian author, who had become a close friend. The two men ate lunch together, and when they had finished, Lewis said, “At all events, we’ll certainly meet again, here—or there.” Then he added: “I shan’t say goodbye. We’ll meet again.” And with that, they shook hands and parted ways. From across the street, above the din of traffic, Lewis shouted, “Besides, Christians never say goodbye!”

I’ve said the same thing at funerals, “The only kind of separations Christians experience are temporary ones.”

And of course, this is true but avoiding goodbye when we have to move on and face the prospect of never seeing each other again in this life denies the importance of our life together as a local church body. It devalues the importance of the caliber of friendships we have come to share: “Friends who stick closer than a sister or a brother.” Brushing over “farewell” denies that the pain of separation is real—that no matter how many texts or phone calls or Facebook updates we share, we won’t be available for each other in the same way anymore.

In an article in Christianity Today magazine, Wesley Hill writes, “Saying goodbye is important, in the end, because it’s one way of reminding each other that we are God’s bodily creatures. We want Him to watch over us and keep our love for one another alive, right now, even before the day of our eventual reunion.”

I agree with Wesley.  It hurts to know that in coming months much of our interactions will end---or at least change. So, with pain in my heart I’ll say, “Good-bye---and God be with you until we meet again!” I know I speak for Sue when I say, “I hope there will be many more future meetings before we arrive in that place where there is no more separation.”

Keep the SON in your eyes!
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