Image Credit: Disney Plus via Associated Press

One of the more powerful moments in Lin Manuel-Miranda’s musical about Alexander Hamilton is when George Washington announces that he’s not running for re-election as President.   Manuel-Miranda’s score has Hamilton asking Washington, “Why do you have to say goodbye?” The President responds, “If I say goodbye, the nation learns to move on; it outlives me when I’m gone.”  As Manuel-Miranda so beautifully demonstrated, saying goodbye creates a profound opportunity to deepen relationship and to teach a few lessons along the way.

Listen to Hamilton’s “One Last Time” here.

This is an opportunity our Gospel author doesn’t want to squander either.  The pacing of our story has slowed to dramatic effect this week.  John chapters 13-17 take place around the same dinner table, and over the course of this “last” supper, Jesus says goodbye to his disciples.  As Karoline Lewis notes, “this is Jesus as pastor, friend, mentor, teacher, lover, and speaking to every emotion that accompanies such relationships.”  If you spend time with these texts, you might be surprised as how intimate they are.  Know that this intimacy is intended for you.  Allow yourself to be drawn even more closely to the one whom God has sent into the world.

Think of the goodbyes you’ve had to say in your life.  Those who have started new jobs, retired from long careers, or moved to new homes might have experiences that could relate.  How have you honored the relationships you’ve left behind?  Have you offered wisdom or advice for those remaining?  Have you expressed gratitude?  What else is remarkable about these moments?

In reading through Jesus’ farewell discourse, take note of the centrality of love as it will be experienced in the three-fold nature of God.  Leaving behind those who are deeply, immeasurably loved, can be a source of deep heartache.  But Jesus’ own witness offers a window into how a goodbye can deliver a sustaining promise that only love might deliver.

“Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:33-35

May God’s peace find you this day. – Pastor Peter

Let us pray…

Even in the midst of goodbye, continue reminding us of what remains.  Amen.