Tues., Aug. 7, 2018
Romans 1:1 – Dear friends in Rome: This letter is from Paul, Jesus Christ’s slave, chosen to be a missionary, and sent out to preach God’s Good News.
This envelope arrived in our mailbox a couple days ago. It was in a plastic bag with a card, envelope and a little note inside. Here is what the note said:
July 31, 2018
Dear Postal Customer,
The enclosed piece of mail had been held by the United States Postal Inspection Service for an investigation into mail theft in Milwaukee, WI. That investigation has now concluded, and the mail has been released for deliver to you.
We regret the inconvenience this may have caused to you, and appreciate your assistance.
When Hubby Rick initially opened the plastic bag, he noticed the card was from his sister and sent on Jan. 18, 2018. This was just a few days after my Mom passed away. It is a sympathy card.
A mere 6+ months later, the card arrived.
Rick and I were not aware this piece of mail was being held for potential mail theft. We did not know we were missing the card until after it arrived. How often are other letters or cards sent and never received? It’s hard to know.
The New Testament is compilation of 21 epistles. Epistle means “letter” or “message.” They were the primary form of written communication in the ancient world. These 21 epistles were written to individuals by individuals or sent to churches. They would have been written on a scroll. The Gospel of Luke and the Book of Revelation were also written as letters; just not epistles.
How were these epistles were transported to their intended audience? Probably by foot or a person riding an animal. Where letters ever stolen enroute? It seems there would be the possibility. Did the stolen letters ever make it to their intended recipient? Hopefully.
The yearn of running to the mailbox has weaned the last few years. The actual number of pieces of “real” mail in our mailboxes has declined tremendously. There is a whole generation of kids who may not have received an actual letter. Letters have been replaced by text messages, e-mail and social media. Why take time to write a note, put it in an envelope, and get it to the mailbox when most elementary students can send a text message quicker than we can find the stamp?
The last several months, I have been going through boxes of things that were my Mom’s. I’ve found lots of interesting things, including letters written decades ago. It’s fascinating to read the letters and observe the fancy penmenship. These letters may not be “lost;” just hidden for a few decades.
When the epistles in the New Testament were penned nearly 2,000 years ago, did the writers intend for their letters to be read and re-read thousands of years later? Probably not. Did they expect their words to be used in such a way that people would reference them in how Christians should live today? Hardly.
I appreciate that the letters were kept, read and reread. There was a process in how the letters included in the New Testament were included. Did one or more of these letters surface just in time to be considered and included in the New Testament? I don’t know but certainly a possibility.
I pray we do not loose the art of sending cards, writing letters and putting words down on paper. It is different from reading a text message or an e-mail. When a card or letter arrives in our mailbox, I guarantee you it is the first piece of mail opened; even if it has been lost.
For returned lost cards, I am grateful.
Thank you for those things that we don’t even know we are missing. Thank you for the holy words that make up the epistles found in our Bible. Thank you for making these words available to us today. Amen.
P.S. – Thanks for the card, Linda. It finally arrived!
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