Over the weekend I reconnected with a friend from high school, whom I hadn’t heard from since…well, high school. It was wonderful to hear some of her story, the joys and the sorrows, since those long gone, but not too far off, days. Much like me in this first year out of seminary, she has and is facing the trials and, as she put it, “the realities of life.” But each of us is living day by day, looking to be faithful before God.
Paul was always happy to hear from and reconnect with fellow-believers – perhaps with the exception of a few moments (e.g. Gal. 1:6; 1 Cor. 6:5). His regular practice was to speak fondly and tenderly of churches (e.g. Phil. 1:3-8; 1 Thess. 2:20). Even those whom he had never met before, such as the church at Rome and Colossi, Paul longed to see (Rom. 15:22-24) and toiled for (Col. 1:28-2:3). Paul loved the communion of the saints – it’s no wonder he so often spoke of visiting those to whom he wrote or of their coming to visit him (e.g. 1 Cor. 16:5-7; 2 Tim. 4:9, 21).
One of the most comforting sayings I learned from a former pastor of mine was this, “Goodbye is never ‘goodbye’ for the Christian, but only ‘until we meet again’.” At least, it went something like that – you get the point. The blessed hope of every Christian is that this life is not all we have to live for, but through the resurrection of Jesus Christ we have been born again to a living hope. At the marriage supper of the Lamb we shall reconnect for all eternity, when the dwelling place of God is with man and all the redeemed sing, Hallelujah.