john davies
notes from a small curate



    After saying 'goodbye'

    A poem for Ascension Day

    Good Shepherd 23/5/2004




    On her last day at school her 'goodbyes' were sad;
    She left her friends at the gates with a tear.
    She was worried about all the new things she'd face:
    New people, new teachers, with fear.

    But it didn't take long for her fear to give way;
    Felt she no longer needed to cry.
    Making new friends, she enjoyed her new school
    And here's the reason why:
      There's joy, and a promise of new life from God
      That comes after saying 'goodbye'.

    The caterpillar's mum said, "One day you'll change;
    You'll no longer be able to crawl."
    The caterpillar enjoyed having one hundred legs,
    Didn't want to say 'goodbye' to them at all.

    But it didn't take long for his sadness to go;
    As he became a bright butterfly.
    He couldn't crawl any more but he could float in the air
    He fluttered and flew, and here's why:
      There's joy, and a promise of new life from God
      That comes after saying 'goodbye'.

    Dad didn't want his son to leave home.
    "We are good friends," he said, "I'll miss him:
    I don't know who else would take me out each day
    To the gym, then the pub, then the gym."

    But before long Dad's sad goodbye turned to cheer
    As he heard his first grandchild's first cry.
    Suddenly his family had become full again
    And here's the reason why:
      There's joy, and a promise of new life from God
      That comes after saying 'goodbye'.

    As they followed Jesus up a high hill
    His disciples wondered aloud
    What he would do next, then they watched amazed
    As his feet disappeared in a cloud

    He'd told them to spread his good news around,
    He'd send the Spirit to help them to try.
    So they were not sad, they danced and they sang
    And here's the reason why:
      There's joy, and a promise of new life from God
      That comes after saying 'goodbye'.





    There was no 'sermon' with this, as such, but we had a conversation, first about these images of the ascension, their strangeness; when all they're describing really is how Jesus said goodbye. Then we thought about how we say goodbye: at the doorstep, at the schoolgates, to our work colleagues, to our friends and family, on ordinary days and on extraordinary days (new school, holiday departures etc). Then looked again at how Jesus said goodbye: doing a bible search on the end of Matthew and Luke, noting Jesus' promise (of the Spirit, Luke 24.29), and his command (to go out and make disciples, Matthew 28.19-20). And finished with the poem.