“And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” 2 Corinthians 3:3 ESV
I love getting letters in the mail. Real letters, not bills or advertisements, letters from good friends. There’s something effervescent about a great big fat envelope full of words. To pull out pages bursting with thoughts from another scribe, a word tickler, is better than going to a movie or reading a book.
Since most of my friends live some distance away, getting a letter from them makes me feel like I’ve visited. Their letters are like a mini time capsule of their day, or of how they were feeling, preserved there on paper. And because they wrote it down I get to live that part of the day or week with them. Yes, we text, and Instant Message, but a letter is different. A letter is deliberate sculpted message. It’s something that I save.
The letters I get are usually rather creative, and can be written on anything from things that are manufactured for the express purpose of being written upon, to “look it’s flat and I have a sharpie wheeeeee it’s letter time”.
I’ve received letters written on the back of cookie packets, pages of magazines, and advertisements. All of them have made me grin like a Cheshire cat. I do feel bad for the history student of future years trying to make sense of that kind of correspondence.
Recently, I’ve been getting postcards from a good friend. One came on a day where I was in desperate need of cheering up. It was a postcard/card shaped like “The Scream”. I laughed until I cried. Her words of encouragement within, and general sardonic asides had me in stitches. It’s tucked in my Bible, at the moment.
I keep the letters that people send me. Some have become more valuable to me because the one that wrote the letter is no longer living. To have something written, to me, in their own hand, is priceless. I have a treasure box that sits on my bureau. In it are letters from my grandmothers, my MomMom and my Grammie, and cards from my grandfather, my PopPop. All three are in heaven, waiting on the other side of eternity for me. If the house caught fire, I would grab my treasure box and run out with it under my arm. That’s what I would rescue, not my laptop or my jewelry. I’d grab my box of letters. They are the most valuable things that I own.
I’m not the only one to find value in paper and ink trapped thoughts.
Sothebys last Summer sold a letter from Charlotte Bronte for $27,546, and a snarking, much shorter note from Lord Byron for $21,643.
What makes the letters so valuable? It’s not the ink or paper. It’s the fact that the words and thoughts that were part of the person are still here even though they are gone. Their love, their blessings, their intimate thoughts are left as a gift to those of us still here.
What does this have to do with the I posted above?
We are Living Epistles. Living breathing letters, penned by hand and with great thought, but the Author and Finisher of our faith. He has left us here to be read by others. Our value comes not from what we are made of, or our appearance, but from the fact that His glory and His love are communicated through us to the world.
As a friend of mine often reminds me: You might be the only Bible someone reads.
So, I’ll close with this; What message has the King of Glory written across your heart? Can others read it clearly?