*** A Sermon for Pastor Wayne’s last Sunday in the pulpit following his retirement after six years at McFarland United Methodist Church and eighteen years in the Holston Conference. The sermon is based upon 2 Corinthians 13:11-13.***

Saying goodbye is a daily part of life, but when it involves someone who deeply impacts us, it becomes much harder. Pastor Wayne’s sermon draws on the Apostle Paul’s farewell to the Corinthians, a community he cherished and nurtured despite their conflicts and divisions.

Paul, who established the church at Corinth, faced turmoil within the congregation and external persecution. In his letters, Paul consistently emphasized love and unity, stressing that everyone in Christ is equal. Pastor Wayne reminds us that Paul’s message of love and grace remains powerful and relevant, urging us to treat all people with respect and honor, reflecting the image of God in everyone.

As Paul bid farewell, he provided the Corinthians with a “triptik” for their spiritual journey, offering guidance that transcends time:

1. Put Things in Order: Prioritize what truly matters and eliminate the unnecessary clutter in our lives.
2. Listen to My Appeal: Truly listen to God’s love, allowing it to guide us.
3. Agree with One Another: Celebrate our differences and find unity in our shared faith.
4. Live in Peace: Embrace harmony and shalom, fostering an environment of rest.
5. Receive the Gift of Love: Open our hearts to God’s love, recognizing it is for us personally.
6. Join the Cloud of Witnesses: Feel connected to the entire community of faith, drawing strength from this unity.

Pastor Wayne beautifully ties this to the comforting notion of God’s ever-present love, drawing an analogy with Nancy Wilson’s heartfelt song, “Your Arms of Love.” He emphasizes that just as Wilson sings about finding solace in love, we too can find comfort in God’s embrace as we face goodbyes and new beginnings.

In conclusion, Pastor Wayne reassures us that as we navigate life’s farewells, God holds us in His arms, guiding us forward with His grace, love, and communion. We are never alone; we go with God.


Family Matters