A Fond Farewell

Author: Brenda Pace, Author of "Journey of a Military Wife"

Photo by Marines is licensed under CC BY 2.0

November 14, 2017

The farewell ended with tears, hugs, kisses, and prayers. An uninformed observer would have easily surmised that the people cared deeply about one another.

And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship. (Acts 20:36–38)

During a traditional military Hail and Farewell those being hailed are normally recognized but not given an opportunity to speak, whereas those who are leaving are often asked if they have anything to say. The same pattern is true for change of command ceremonies. Protocol offers the outgoing commander more freedom with the length of remarks, but the incoming commander is limited to a few succinct comments. Farewell remarks about shared events and actions can be emotional and heartfelt. An organization develops a special bond through both good times and difficult periods together.

In the verses immediately preceding today’s reading (Acts 20:17–35), the apostle Paul bids farewell to a group of people for whom he cared deeply. He recounted the times of great success and recalled the events that brought tears. He assured them that the Spirit of God motivated all he did for them for their good. He expressed concern for their future and cautioned them to continue to faithfully follow the Lord. He shared with them what he believed to be the challenges awaiting him and asked for their prayers.

The farewell ended with tears, hugs, kisses, and prayers. An uninformed observer would have easily surmised that the people cared deeply about one another.

When we think about issues pertaining to a PCS, our thoughts focus mainly on the hail and not the eventual farewell. Here is a challenge: start mentally writing your farewell speech the day you arrive. By this, I mean be intentional about making a difference in people’s lives. Along with your plans of where to go on leave and what to see and do over long weekends, look early on to determine whom you can encourage, where in the community you can help, and what role you can play in church or chapel.

If we approach a new assignment with the attitude of Paul—to serve others and follow the leading of God’s Spirit, then our farewell memories will already be written in the hearts of those we come to know.

Respond

Spend time today writing a farewell speech you would like to give when you leave this assignment. What must be your priorities in order to be able to give your speech when you leave?

Prayer for the Journey

Now to him who is able to keep me from stumbling and to present me blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (See Jude 24–25.)

You do not need to face this challenge alone. Jesus has conquered this challenge so that you can move from your present situation to a life of overcoming. Invite him to lead you in your journey. He will forgive, comfort, and heal you.

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