Paul, at a beach Acts 21

3 Jun

Acts 21, final goodbyes

remember how your mother and her sisters do the ‘good bye’ kissing tour after a family event? Taking 4’ever to leave?

And remember how anxious I was to hit the road, get moving?

I still get anxious today especially after spending brief moments with these past family images.

I want to…

run away from those past memories

run away from further days, nights, times of ‘goodbyes’

run away and sit metaphorically ( as my father sat physically ) alone in a car passing the wordless but screamed message, ‘leave! Now. Goodbye.’

Paul in Acts 21 probably felt in this passage on his way, path to Jerusalem as I did,

“After we had torn ourselves away from them, we put out to sea and sailed straight to Kos. The next day we went to Rhodes and from there to Patara. 2 We found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, went on board and set sail. 3 After sighting Cyprus and passing to the south of it, we sailed on to Syria. We landed at Tyre, where our ship was to unload its cargo. 4 We sought out the disciples there and stayed with them seven days. Through the Spirit they urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 5 When it was time to leave, we left and continued on our way. All of them, including wives and children, accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray. 6 After saying goodbye to each other, we went aboard the ship, and they returned home.

Paul desires the journey, not the home; the visit, not the settling. Yet, Paul allows them and himself a frozen moment, a picture moment of memory, on a beach, on knees, with prayers.

verse 5, ‘When it was time to leave, we left and continued on our way. All of them, including wives and children, accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray.’

All, men, women and children, all walked Paul and his companions to the beach. Why? to cry, to kiss, to kneel and say ‘goodbyes.’

They kneel in sands and cry tears as grains in the sand.

In, at this ‘beach home,’ Paul’s family, (and not just the guys, the men, ) come to say goodbye.

This was a ‘real goodbye’; a final fare thee well. A kneeling goodbye. Prophets and companions; disciples and friends; understanding children and in-understanding adults, come and speak final goodbyes. These are kisses with and without words. Final, real ‘goodbyes.’

And everyone kneels, everyone together. Why?

So Paul would feel part of community; not alone orb isolated, by choice or circumstances.

He would feel as a grain, one bit of sand. He would be a beach. This is Paul’s ‘goodbye’ moment.

Me, I have always hated such moments. I have always had trouble with accepting gifts, goodbyes and loving kisses. I still run away from compliments and put thank cards and texts on the side ‘for later,’

Feeling unworthy, I make myself unworthy.

But truthfully, I am as He-Jesus- sees me: to Him I am precious- worth gold, silver, worth countless kissing, innumerable prayers. To him I am a dearly loved grain of sand.

So, now, I try not to worry over time or goodbyes. I try to …Pause and…

…pause again. Breathe and kneel, sit, stand, walk, on a sandy beaches. ( and not in cars )

This day, I let others hold, speak, sit and pray over me. Today, …

Allow a memory to hold you, sit with you and speak and say ‘goodbye.’

For if Paul could walk, pause on a beach, so can you.

So can I.

This is how a final goodbye appears, is, exists in communities.

It is a sand of tears, a beach of memories, a life well felt, well remembered.

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