1 – Second Level of Relationship
Jesus embarks on describing different levels of relationship, from the most casual to the most sustained. In this passage, he is describing a second level:
“. . .[T]he second level of teaching is a more sustained relationship, in which, for a time, two people enter into a fairly intense teaching-learning situation and then appear to separate. (M8)”
I have known a good number of these relationships of a second level. I particularly think of relationships with male friends before I married. Many of us have experienced this type of relatively fleeting, but intense, relationship. This passage encourages us not to lament the fleeting nature:
“As with the first level, these meetings are not accidental, nor is what appears to be the end of the relationship a real end. Again, each has learned the most he can at the time. (M8)”
We are encouraged to believe that we encounter those whom we do for a purpose, that these meetings are not accidental, and that we will meet again. Indeed, sometimes these individuals contact us again,
and we have to decide if that contact is something that we can handle in the present, given our other relationships. Facebook has prompted many to reassess past relationships, and this is probably
on the whole a good thing. But we must not sacrifice anything in our present relationships to past ones. Perhaps our current significant others are not open to a friend from the past. Only we can decide.
2 – Do Not Lament the Past
We need not lament the past. There is an oft-quoted statement to the effect that if we knew the whole circumstance, we would praise God for removing from us the relationships that we thought we wanted.
This is a stern warning not to live in the past. It is also a call to be grateful for what we have now.
If we still long for the long-forgotten past, here is a passage of great comfort:
Yet all who meet will someday meet again, for it is the destiny of all relationships to become holy. God is not mistaken in His Son. (M8)”
3 – We Will Meet Again
Yes, we will meet again. This is quite in line with traditional Christianity. And it does, to my mind, seem to mean that we will meet on the Other Side, where, if we are to believe Jesus in the New Testament, there is no marriage or giving in marriage. We are free to love all, though undoubtedly there will still be restrictions when some are more ready to commit to a relationship than others. We must respect boundaries, here and in the other world.
Grant me a day to rejoice over all the relationships which I have known. May I not rue the ones that ended, for the ending is not a real ending. If I can believe Jesus, and I do, we will meet again all who have been important to us in this lifetime.
May this day go well. For me, it will be a busy late afternoon, but the relative leisure of the early part of the day will prepare me for the whirlwind of later on. All of us need such respite. May we have the “down” time that we all need.
Thank You for your presence in my life.