That is how I sign off many of my emails these days. I have sometimes wondered if my ending salutations don’t sound Christian enough for my audience. As a former church pastor and now presbytery staff I feel a certain amount of responsibility to reinforce our common life in Christ. Such salutations as “Sincerely,” “Cordially Yours,” and “Best,” don’t exude the Christian spirit that I want to communicate. On the other hand, I have noticed that I rarely use the more common “God Bless” or “In Christ” that is typical of someone like me who represents a Christian tradition.
I have thought a lot about the effort I have put in over the years to find an ending salutation that fits me well and communicates the spirit that I want to leave at the end of an email or letter. I have come to believe that my “In trust…” salutation does exactly what I am hoping for. It isn’t so distinctly Christian in name as to feel exclusive to those who don’t share my faith. And it is deeply Christian enough to communicate the very heart of my faith.
There is a great deal that my Christian faith has given me over the years—a reminder that love lies at the heart of all relationships and action; that grace is almost always a good thing; and that some things are worth fighting for like peace, justice and the truth. But if I had to name one thing that my Christian faith has given me more than anything else, it would have to be learning to live life in trust. Believe me, this has been a major work in progress!
I don’t feel that every email needs to end with the salutation, “In trust…” I often end emails with “Peace…” or “Peace, as always…” and occasionally “Blessings…” when I am sure the person on the other end will appreciate the softer version of “God bless.” But the “In trust…” salutation is the one that gets most closely to the heart of my faith and to the spirit that I want to convey at the end of my emails.
I don’t have anything against saying, “God Bless” or “In Christ.” It’s just that I work really hard to find language that connects with people. “God Bless” connects, but not in a universally way that makes me feel like I want other people to read my email. “In Christ” may connect with the specific person I am writing to (and I do sometimes use that salutation if my sole goal is to connect with that particular reader), but not to the broader crowd.
When I say, “In trust…” I am often communicating, “I don’t know where all of this is going, but I trust you, I trust our process, I trust our relationship, I trust God.” I am also saying, “God is not finished with us yet. I trust where God is taking us. This conversation and this relationship is to be continued.”
What I like about my ending salutation, “In trust…” is that it works just as well for Christians and non-Christians, for progressives and conservatives, for family and friends as well as strangers, for professional colleagues and intimate associates.
I think I am writing this because I have sometimes wondered if people worry that my salutations don’t sound Christian enough for a person in my position. But I have come to accept that there is nothing more Christian than to start my day and to end my emails with the words, “In trust…”
It’s a nice way to end a letter.
It’s an even better way to live a life…
By Rev. Brian Heron, Presbyter for Vision and Mission, Presbytery of the Cascades