Special to the Progress
“Finally, brothers, good-bye. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” — 2 Corinthians 13:11(NIV)
My 11-month-old grandson is learning to wave goodbye. He has said, “Bye-Bye,” once. Only two people, including myself, were witnesses to those spoken words. It was exciting to share the news with his parents, who have not heard him say those words yet.
Recently, I came across some interesting information about the origin of the word, “goodbye,” which is one of the most common ways to say farewell. Other ways to bid someone goodbye include “peace,” “so long,” “later gator,” and “ciao.” A form of goodbye has been used since the 16th century and comes from “godbwye,” a contraction of “God be with ye.” That phrase, influenced by “good day” and “good evening,” was abbreviated into “bye” and “bye-bye.”
Several Spanish terms of farewell have also found their way into common use in the English language, including Adios, which is a contraction of a, which means “to,” and Dios, which means “God.” Another Spanish term, Hasta luego, means “see you later.” It was Arnold Schwarzenegger, in his role of the Terminator, who popularized the expression, hasta la vista, which means “so long” or “until we meet again.”
I love this Irish blessing about saying goodbye: “May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of his hand.” Can’t you just picture God holding you in the hollow of His hand?
Goodbyes can hurt sometimes, depending on the situation. As one unknown author said, “A goodbye isn’t painful unless you’re never going to say hello again.” Isn’t it great to know that God never says “goodbye?” We are the ones who walk away, usually without bidding Him farewell. We just drift away. However, He’s always there, patiently waiting with extended hand to say hello again, even if time has passed.
In 2 Corinthians 13:11, Paul bids adieu to the Corinthians, encouraging them to live in peace and harmony so that the God of love and peace will be with them. Paul reminds them of the need for unity among God’s people in the church. Many congregations have divided, caught up in quarreling and jealousy, and the hurt leads people to leave the church.
Most of the time, the quarrels are about petty things, like the color of new carpet in the sanctuary. Other times, the disagreements are of a more serious nature. Whatever the differences that lead to a breakdown in unity, they should never be the cause of someone’s walking out the church doors without so much as a goodbye.
It is up to each one of us to change our ways. If Jesus is in us, then saying goodbye to someone should never be the final farewell.