“You show that you are a letter of Christ…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
Everyone loves to receive an envelope addressed to them that isn’t a bill or an official correspondence. Its arrival comes with a certain gladness or intrigue depending on whether we can decipher the handwriting of the sender at first glance or not. But I think the most precious quality of a hand written letter is that it endures over time. It can be easily re-read. It can be held in the hands of the recipient and physically placed close to the heart. It can carry fragrance (A friend of mine used to spray her paper with her favourite perfume so that her letters always carried her scent!). A letter can survive as a lasting legacy of love, friendship and as a record of history for generations to come. The power of the letter is not just about the information written down within the text, it also conveys the desire to reach out and connect with someone else’s reality at a specific moment in their lives.
My mother is a wonderful letter writer with enviable calligraphy. Over the decades I have heard many relatives and friends commenting on how they love to receive her Christmas card. They look forward with anticipation to reading the handwritten letter she includes, in which she recounts events of life over the past year and she shares her reflections on the journey of life as it has unfolded for herself and for them. How special it is to know that someone has taken the time to personalise a greeting just for you! I’m sure we can all admit that on some occasion or other we have gone out to buy greeting cards for someone special and as we looked through the racks of cards thought; “That’s a nice card but it just doesn’t have the right message.” Well I invite you now to write the card or the letter with that perfect personalised message!
A man takes joy in a fitting reply, and how good is a timely word!
Perhaps we could take some time to thank those in our circle of love for the ways they have nurtured, supported and strengthened us. Depending on the person we are writing to, we might include the ways in which they have impacted our lives over the course of a lifetime, or how they have supported and journeyed with us through a certain phase or chapter of life. Why not use the gift of time to recollect memories, share the emotions they evoke and perhaps express the heartfelt gratitude for those fond memories that we may have never acknowledged or spoken aloud.
As Christians we are called to share our faith in many different ways and what better inspiration do we need than to look to the way the early Christians communicated via letter. The first apostles wrote letters to teach, instruct, nurture, caution and increase the faith amongst new Christian communities. The letters would encourage them to embody the Gospel message wholeheartedly and become a living testament to Christ. Can we become more conscious then, whilst writing our letters, emails and messages to one another, that we are called to share faith, hope and love with those we communicate with and that we can use our correspondence as way of building up the Body of Christ, because we are writing the story of our lives “…not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God.” (2 Corinthians 3:3)
-Written by Cilla Farrell