Two and a half years ago I wrote these words as part of Lisa Jo’s Five Minute Friday writing prompt (the word prompt was goodbye). It was April. Mom had been diagnosed with cancer for barely five months. Our conversations were deep and rich and filled with the meaning of things. We weren’t saying goodbye yet, but we were getting ready. 
Why does goodbye hurt so much? What makes it hard? Stretching thin the fibers of hearts, pulling the bond taught between them. So tight you could pluck and twang their cords. Goodbye. Relocation tests the metal of relationships. The fast paced frenzy of our culture, taking us hither and yon, has prompted creative ways to touch hearts and minds like never before. It’s amazing the ways we’ve found to stretch our goodbyes into long distance hellos.
But there’s a goodbye that hurts like a birth and won’t be satisfied. It burns and aches for decades. No connection prolongs that goodbye from a distance. Even though we celebrate and anticipate those leaving us for Heaven’s wonders, the ache still comes. Why, when we know we’ll see them again, do we grieve so long?

Unity. We were made for this. Separation is unnatural. Death speaks a final word. We were meant to be together. Meant to be joined at the heart to Father God, joined at the heart with brother man. Hear death’s warning: We were made for unity. The bride here and the bride there cannot be complete until we’re together, eternal, and we long and ache and twist until it’s done.

The Spirit and the Bride say come, unify us, Lord Jesus! My Mom and I have been talking about unity a lot lately. This week we talked about what death is saying to us, about unity in light of eternity. Death is calling out; embrace unity with God and each other, hold out unity while there is time. Death is God’s final warning. A reminder that we were made for unity with him. This life is an invitation. What will you do with the call to unity?

“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:22-23

There were times, especially toward the end, that it looked like mom was a victim. A victim of cancer. To an extent that may have been true. But the deeper truth is that she was an active, willing participant to reconciliation. One of mom’s favorite verses was 2 Corinthians 5:17. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 

Sometimes we stop too short though. If we keep reading we will realize the purpose of the new creation. All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Her illness meant nothing if it didn’t participate in the work of reconciliation in her family, or community, or even the world around her. Reconciliation is the means to unity. Reconciliation says come home.

What broken areas of your life can you surrender to Jesus for him to use as the means of reconciliation? How have you responded to God’s call for unity?


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