I wasn’t expecting a letter from them, actually. But I recognized the return address. Our past several letter exchanges had all been about one topic of great concern to both of us, so I expected this to be a follow-up. But on reading the letter, it was, instead, a gracious thank-you note for some help I had given so long ago that I had totally forgotten about it. Whether the contents of the envelope is a thank-you note, a letter of acceptance, or one of rejection, introduction, resignation, or recommendation, letters are a way to communicate clearly and formally an important idea.
We do it so much by e-mail now that many people are losing their ability to write beautiful cursive letters. It is still a good idea to take out a nice sheet of quality notepaper and your best fountain pen that feels good in your hand and paints a beautiful line as you brush its nib across the paper. There is something timeless about getting a carefully composed and inscribed handwritten note. For some things, e-mail just doesn’t measure up.
I wonder what kind of letter King David wrote, sealed, and then handed to Uriah the Hittite, asking him to deliver it to Joab. Perhaps it was written on coarse paper, probably with a reed brush. Whatever the case, Uriah was delivering his own death sentence. That just has to be the worst kind of letter to be carrying to your commander.
Most letters are addressed to just one individual. They may in fact be marked “confidential” to warn others away. The open letter, on the other hand, has a message of interest to all, or it has information that all need to know.
The letter being described by Paul above opens by asking if he needs a letter of recommendation and then follows by letting the reader know that he or she is in fact the letter of recommendation. That would be me and you. Paul declares, “You are a letter from Christ, known and read by all.” He goes on to add that it is not written in ink, nor on slabs of stone, but on “tablets of flesh.” I am still trying to get my mind around this. I am a letter of recommendation for God. He has personally written His law on my heart and declares that He will be my God and I will be His person.
Lord, You mean that I am an open letter, known and read by all? Father, without the fruit of the Spirit in my heart, I am sure to blow it. Help me now.