Thursday, May 29, 2014


Today I awoke in the apartment of a friend who I became connected with in one of the strangest and most beautiful ways. I met her in another country at a conference for a few days. We clicked and she later came and visited me in the Dominican Republic, and last night she opened her home up to two traveling missionaries(a.k.a. me and one other missionary). It was a very brief stay, and even though our periods of being together have often been brief, it is as if we have known each other all our lives, and there is always the assurance that we will see each other again. This week, I have said, “goodbye” to many friends. Not for the first time, but nonetheless it has still been very difficult. Today I also had to say, “goodbye” to a fellow missionary who I had been traveling with since we left the Dominican Republic. While I know I will see her again, the weight of the farewell hit me as I was driving away. There is never a doubt that I will see these friends again but there is a pain within me every time the reality of “goodbyes” and “farewells” sink in.
 While as Christians we share the hope of a glorious reunion in heaven, it doesn’t change the fact that while we live in these broken bodies here on earth, we will continually face the partings of friends and families. I must admit that I thought with time they would get easier. But as fatality has made itself known in saying farewell to friends and family, the reality of goodbyes becomes tinged with a bit of morbidity. I am also beginning to realize that the more I open up and love the deeper the pain of partings becomes. In the midst of all these goodbyes I was reminded today of a great “goodbye” that the disciples endured. 
In celebrating the ascension today I reflected on the connection between my own “farewell’s” and those of the disciples. In my journey home today I kept thinking; “How many more times am I going to have to endure this?” Obviously; as long as I continue to open myself up to others, it will go on for as long as I live, until that day when others will be saying “goodbye” to me. The idea of this left me empty, with a sense of there being a bottomless pit and a sensation of endless falling. “How long!? How many more goodbyes? How many more heartbreaks?” Then I thought about the disciples. What a strange, sad parting the ascension must have been. Sure, there would have been joy at knowing that their Redeemer lives and because their Redeemer lives they too would live again. However, wasn’t the blood bath in which they initially said “goodbye” as their rabbi and teacher was taken from their presence enough? Now they had to do it again. Now they had to watch Him be taken from them again. Now they had to discover how to move forward without their great teacher present. Perhaps they wondered how real the past forty days were. If they had in fact lived it and not just woken from a very long dream. Now, they had to start all over again; but not without a helper. This same helper comes to us and binds us all together in our baptism. He makes us One and promises us a joyful reunion in heaven for each of the faithful who die within the grace of God. We ourselves and the disciples have hope, and while we may be cleaved for a time from one another, we are never without hope. We have Christ and all His promises and truths that He gives us in His word. So in the midst of cleaving, we can cling to the cross and remember all we have received one for all in the sacrifice of Christ. We now have fellowship not only with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirt, but with all the company of heaven. So, the more painful partings we endure in this earth give way to a greater joy of many more joyful reunions.   

John 14:18
I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

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