Saying goodbye brings human emotion into play. We are created as humans to exist within community. We usually like having other people around. So, acknowledging a departure of persons brings on strong emotions.
Sometimes, the departure is sweet because an individual you can't stand is finally leaving! I hope that isn't the common case, but we certainly must acknowledge that it can be the case. So, the emotion of departure is gladness & joy.
Most of the time, departure is rough & even gut-wrenching because we cannot bear being seperated one from another. That is the strong emotion of grief or sadness or loneliness or emptiness. When people are in our lives, they can enhance our lives. Perhaps they make our life easier by being in it. Perhaps they add the element of joy into our life that, when they are gone, the joy is gone. Life w/o joy is lonely.
Saying "goodbye" then is tough.
But, did you know that scripture gives us a great formula for saying "goodbye"? That's right. Never believe scripture does not cover all sections of life. People who do not know God's Word will tell you it is another form of the al-Qur'an or Kitab-i-Aqdas or the I Ching or something else. This is not true. It is the voice of ignorance. God's Word covers life fully and mysteriously.
Anyway, back to the subject at hand. Saying goodbye in God's Word is done with a formula. What a great way to say 'goodbye'. Of course, I must acknowledge that we do not always have the opportunity to use this formula. Sometimes, time is against us. Sometimes, the departure is so sudden that it is completely without goodbyes.
But, when opportunity does avail itself -- this is a wonderful formula.
This Sunday, we will consider "goodbye's" and examine this formula.