Parting Words

Parting Words

Sunday, October 2, 2022
| 2 Timothy 1:1-14

The apostle Paul knows he is going to die. What does he have to say to his young colleague before the end arrives?

Reading this text reminds us of famous parting scenes in literature or film, particularly vignettes in which a child is leaving home for university, war or adventures in another country. Graduation commencement addresses also come to mind, or even speeches and essays that precede an imminent and cruel death.

Consider the familiar phrase, “neither a borrower nor a lender be.” It’s one tidbit of advice from Polonius to his son Laertes, who is leaving Denmark for college in France. Found in Act I, Scene 3 of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, it is a paraphrase of Proverbs 22:7: “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is a slave to the lender.” Polonius had much more to say, for example:

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

The “advice-before-death” farewell trope is also a common one, and we’ve seen examples of it in recent years — Randy...


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