In John 14-16, Jesus gave to his disciples some final wisdom. With those words, he offered his friends hope for the coming days; he challenged them to embody love in the world as he had embodied the goodness of God in grace and in truth; he reminded them of the presentness of God in the world.

Goodbyes can be so difficult. At the end of things, reflection can bring warm smiles or heartbroken tears. As we think back on our lives, we are grateful for our fond memories and occasionally haunted by the ghosts of our regrets.

I’m amazed by two types of responses in this video. First, my heart aches for the man who regrets his drinking or the girl who wishes she would have visited her sick grandfather. These regrets are so real, so visceral, so truly regrettable. But I’m also amazed by those who thoughtfully and confidently stated that they simply had no regrets. I’m sure these people have had a whole slew of terrible experiences and have made their own fair share of mistakes. Yet they recognize the beauty and freedom that comes from learning from those mistakes; they see clearly where their paths have led them.

What would it be like to look back on our lives through the lens of Jesus’ greatest commandments? If we spent our lives focusing on loving God with all that we are and loving others as we love ourselves, what would our farewell discourses be like? What hope would we offer the future?

May we be empowered by that love
To weave new patterns of truth and justice
Into a web of life that is strong, beautiful, and everlasting. 

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