Parting Blessing

Geoffrey Cox

READ : Ephesians 6:21-24

Peace . . . and love with faith . . . Grace be with all . . . (vv. 23-24)

We say goodbye without ever thinking of the meaning of the word. It is meant to be a parting blessing. Goodbye is short for “God be with you!” We end our letters with “Yours truly,” whatever that means. But Paul never wastes the ends of his letters with empty words or unthinking routine phrases. Ephesians closes with some personal news (a good opportunity to ask for personal prayer), personal greetings (here’s a lovely testimony to Paul’s friend Tychicus—could someone describe you as “a dear brother/sister, and a faithful minister in the Lord”?), and a personal desire “to encourage your hearts.” These are ways to end our letters positively.

In the old Anglican Prayer Book a minister doing house visitation is encouraged on entering a home to bless the occupants with the words, “Peace be to this house and all who dwell in it.” Try saying that as you visit friends, and pray it in your heart as well. You might also want to pray for your family and friends what Paul does for his: for “love with faith from God,” and grace, and “undying love for our Lord Jesus Christ.”

A simple end to a rich and deep letter. Read it again right through and imagine Paul is writing these words to you. Actually, he is.

PRAYER

Lord, use me to bless others.