For a couple of months now, I have wondered how to make this blog space a little more beneficial for you. This is not to say the other blog posts have not been helpful. I know in talking to some of you that they have been.
However, I feel like this space could be used for more. (Side note: If you have any thoughts on how this space could be more beneficial, please use the contact page on the website and email me.) One thought that keeps coming to mind is to use this space to “interact” with current news stories. This does not have to be each week, and I suspect it may take a while to truly figure out what “interact” means.
For instance, one of the more popular news events last week was David Letterman’s farewell. This got me thinking of some rather “famous” farewells found in scripture. This is not an exhaustive list.
Enoch does not die, but he is taken up to heaven.
23 In all, Enoch lived 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God and disappeared because God took him. (Genesis 2)5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he didn’t see death, and he wasn’t found because God took him up. He was given approval for having pleased God before he was taken up. 6 It’s impossible to please God without faith because the one who draws near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards people who try to find him. (Hebrews 11)
Elijah is taken up into heaven in a fiery chariot (2 Kings 2):
6 Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, because the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.”But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives and as you live, I won’t leave you.” So both of them went on together. 7 Fifty members from the group of prophets also went along, but they stood at a distance. Both Elijah and Elisha stood beside the Jordan River. 8 Elijah then took his coat, rolled it up, and hit the water. Then the water was divided in two! Both of them crossed over on dry ground. 9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “What do you want me to do for you before I’m taken away from you?”Elisha said, “Let me have twice your spirit.”10 Elijah said, “You’ve made a difficult request. If you can see me when I’m taken from you, then it will be yours. If you don’t see me, it won’t happen.”11 They were walking along, talking, when suddenly a fiery chariot and fiery horses appeared and separated the two of them. Then Elijah went to heaven in a windstorm.12 Elisha was watching, and he cried out, “Oh, my father, my father! Israel’s chariots and its riders!” When he could no longer see him, Elisha took hold of his clothes and ripped them in two. (Note, this is an act of mourning.)
And yes, you cannot forget Jesus.
7 Jesus replied, “It isn’t for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 Rather, you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”9 After Jesus said these things, as they were watching, he was lifted up and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going away and as they were staring toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood next to them. 11 They said, “Galileans, why are you standing here, looking toward heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1)
All of us have said farewells to dear friends and loved ones. This past weekend was a time to remember some of those farewells. You might think that our farewells are different. The above farewells are people who went to be with God while they were still living.
Even though we have seen many people leave this world through death. The above is a better picture for us as well.
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live, even though they die. 26 Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die…” (John 11)
In Christ, our death, our farewell here, is not an end but a new beginning to our living.
(All scripture cited above from Common English Bible Copyright © 2011)