I remember reading an article some time ago about the lost custom and art form of letter writing. Letter writing is projected to die in this century. At the rate things are going, so might the postal service. It’ like carriage making businesses will pass away off the scene. At best, the postal service might survive in another form. I don’t bemoan the passing of either. Once something has served its purpose, it needs to move on to make room for what is needed. Now, that said I have taken up the practice of letter writing. Actually it is just letter writing to my grandchildren across the metroplex. I remembered the sense of importance I felt when I would get a letter as a child, so I thought I would pass it on. We all enjoy getting mail that is not junk, a bill, or the some other impersonal unsolicited correspondence. The fact that someone has thought enough of you to take the time to think of you and send you something personal and tangible can be very uplifting for anyone.
As one might suspect there is another motive at play here. When one receives a personal letter most of us are inclined to respond, especially if it is from someone you respect. In writing to them I am encouraging my grandchildren to get off the electronics, carve some time from their busy schedules, and they are busy, and take the time to settle down, organize their thoughts and formulate a reply to someone who cared enough to think about them.
Electronic media has taken the personal touch out of correspondence. The letters are all cold and crisp. There is no way to discern the feelings that may be behind them. There is no way to see or even smell what may have been going on with the writer when they were thinking about you. A hand written letter is a personal touch from someone who cares. It is the expression of the spirit of someone who is reaching out to you.
It is new territory for us, but they are catching on. Each letter shows a little more thought, a little more time, a little more intentionality to share a little more of themselves.
Personal letters are nothing more than stylized messages from someone who cares about you and cares for you and wants to be in correspondence or communication with you. That’s what the Bible is. Personalized messages sent by someone who cares about you and cares for you and wants to open up communication with you. It really isn’t just someone, it is God. The thing about God is God has no problem using new or old human forms to communicate a very personal message to each one of us. Though parts of the Bible were written as letters to particular communities, they were also letters to each believer in that community and the other communities that would read it. These letters were even encouraged to be passed on among the community of faith. The Bible is a personal letter to each of us. God took time to script it. God even took time to move in the hearts and minds of literally countless persons through the ages to tell the stories that they might be passed on, to transcribe the stories that they might be read, to translate the text that they might be studied, to print the text that they might be made available to the masses. God has taken much care to assure you got the message he has sent you. Take time to read it. Then maybe during the forty days of Lent, you can carve some time from your busy schedule and formulate a reply to God who cared enough to think about you.