In every sermon I ever preached here, I took a moment to be a “word nerd.” I can’t leave this place without doing so one last time. There are so many good words to pick:
Farewell = safe travels
auf Wiedersehen = until I see you again
Shalom/Salaam = God’s peace
So long = goodbye for now
But when it really matters, the only word we say is Goodbye. For some 500 years, English speakers have said goodbye when parting ways. It was shortened from the longer phrase “God be with ye.” We don’t say “ye” any more, but it’s the equivalent of today’s “y’all,” meaning more than one person.
And so, as we part ways, that’s what I really want to say: May God be with you all! I’ve seen God’s spirit at work over these last three years, and I have no doubt that God is still at work in this community. A spirit of grace has bound us together in love, and that spirit reaches farther than any distance of space or time.
Like Paul said in his letter to the Romans: “I’m convinced that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord: not death or life, not angels or rulers, not preset things or future things, not powers or height or depth, or any other thing that is created.”
Though we may be apart, I know that we will always be together in the Spirit that makes us one.
Yours in love,