2 Corinthians 13:11-14

13:11 Finally, brothers, rejoice. Be perfected, be comforted, be of the same mind, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. 13:12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13:13 All the saints greet you. 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.

(WEB)

No, I’m not going away; I just think this is a very nice way to sign off.

Reading Paul’s letters is strange, and reminds e of reading John Ashbery’s poetry (which is very different). John Ashbery’s poetry is replete with pronouns, especially “I”, “you” and “we”. Who these pronouns refer to is never spelt out and we have to work it out — or, rather, decide — from the poem itself.

Reading the letters gives me the same feeling. Clearly, they are letters, and the reader is over-hearing a conversation between third parties; but the letters have significance beyond that. For example, it doesn’t seem too inappropriate for the reader to see themself as an addressee of the letters. Furhter, if Paul can be a rôle model (a minor one, a long way behind the real Rôle Model), then it’s perhaps not too inappropriate for the reader to imagine writing or speaking in this way, or thinking in this way.

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