Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 

2 Corinthians 13:11

Siblings in Christ: In today’s climate and culture this verse though relatively short in length holds great weight and is quite deep. So let's break it down:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell.”
I know usually my goodbyes are different for each situation. The intention of my earnest I love you’s and I can’t wait to see you vary on the situation. Life lately has taught me to never take for granted the time frame of when we see each other again. In March when I said goodbye to my students and co-workers, I had no idea it would be 6 months until I saw them again because of the COVID pandemic that shut down schools. I have learned that each goodbye hug should last as long as you need and each goodbye “I love you” said with depth and honesty. Life is so unpredictable and uncertain. Each farewell should be a vehicle of your true intentions!

“Put things in order”
This reminds me of back in my preschool teaching years when things were getting too loud or out of control in the classroom I called for “Clean-up time.” We all need to reset and focus. It’s so important to get things in order to be able to move on.

“Listen to my appeal”
The word listen is so misunderstood in today’s world. We often listen to respond instead of listening to understand, especially when someone is “appealing” to us. In today’s world that usually means arguing and trying to get you to see their side! If only we would take time to listen to really hear the other person, the world would be a much better place!

“Agree with each other”
That is difficult to do during the best of times. The world is full of strife. People disagree about most everything, from ranch vs. blue cheese to which sports team is tops. Healthy disagreement.

“Live in Peace”
I must admit this is the part of this passage I’m struggling with. There has not been a lot of peace in our world, both globally and for my family personally. There are days I have trouble finding even a moment of peace much less be able to Live in it.

“And the God of love and peace will be with you.”
And… And?? So are you telling me I have to put things in order, listen to others, agree with them, live in peace AND then God will be with you…oh that AND....hmmmm this does not sit well in my very human, there for willful spirit. But upon retrospect I realized Jesus is the AND!!! He is the one who will put things in order for you, will help you listen to others with your heart, will help you agree on the issues that matter and will of course be the one who will Live in Peace with you. It’s Jesus, he’s our AND!

Dear Jesus, thank you for being our AND! For bringing us peace and love! May we be a vehicle of your love to others. Amen.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash