One of my favorite songs in a favorite movie is Oscar Hammerstein’s So Long, Farewell from the Sound of Music. The beauty of Deep Cove can leave all of us singing like Marta, “I hate to go and leave this pretty sight”. It is amazing how farewell comments are often so spiritual that we don’t even hear them. The phrase ‘so long’ is New York slang for the Hebrew ‘Shalom’ which is used for both hello and goodbye. To sing like Fredrick ‘Adieu, adieu, adieu to you and you and you’ actually means in French to go with God. Likewise Adios in Spanish commends us to God, to Dios. For the past thirty years of the Deep Cove Crier, I have been commending you each month to God. He loves you more than you might ever imagine.
Kurt in the Von Trapp Family singers sang, “I leave and heave a sigh and say goodbye, goodbye.” Goodbye literally means ‘God be with you.’ Leaving involves grieving. I will miss you. One local politician complimented me by saying that I was more visible than they were at community events. Over decades, I have gotten to know many of you, even if you have never darkened the door of a church. Some of you have asked me to take your weddings, baptisms, or funerals. Over several decades, I sometimes had the privilege of being there for all three, sometimes even marrying the parents and then later taking the wedding of their adult child. How many remember the original Boal Chapel? I will never forget when a couple asked me to take their son’s funeral, saying that he was a diamond in the rough. When half the congregation turned up at Boal Chapel on Harley Davidsons, I found myself paraphrasing Jesus, saying “Blessed are those who are tough enough to mourn for they shall be comforted”. One person heard me and had the courage to grieve.
In this current culture, some people’s connection to church is reflected by the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral. Many people no longer attend church but will still attend wedding and funerals/celebrations of life. At weddings, they are often so distracted by the beautiful bride that the spiritual message may be missed. At funerals/celebrations of life, people are often reflecting and listening at a heart level. Some of you may have only met me in person at one of the many weddings and funerals that I have taken since 1987. I had the privilege of taking both Wayne and Marsia Hunter’s funerals at Seymour Golf & Country Club and at Boal Chapel. Because they were so politically involved, half the people at their services were politicians. “Can politicians make it to heaven?”, I asked at the funeral. < > Yes, I said, but it is not easy because they are often so covered over because of endless criticism. Jesus knows the hearts of politicians even if they do not know themselves. Jesus loves the least, the lost, and the last, including politicians.
It has been a privilege to share over 360 monthly spiritual messages with you that have been viewed online by 755,000 people so far on my blog. Many of these articles turned up in chapters of my books Battle for the Soul of Canada, Restoring Health, andFor Better For Worse. Every year I have shared with you insights about New Year Resolutions, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Remembrance Day, and Christmas. Through personally visiting all 10,000 homes (some two or three times) in the Seymour/Deep Cove community, I received many new ideas for articles, including on tolerance and judgmentalism.
Thank you, Wilf Fawcett, Bruce Coney, Mark Hood and Maria Spitale-Leisk for believing in me and giving me a chance to share good news in the Deep Cove Crier. My new focus in this transition will be on writing books and speaking at conferences, particularly on marriage and renewal as we did to tens of thousands recently in Africa. You will enjoy Pastor Craig Thiessen who will be taking over this column next month. Never forget that Jesus loves you. So long, farewell, goodbye.