(2 Corinthians 3:3)
While de-cluttering the rooms of our house I came across three envelopes. The envelopes are not addressed to anyone but they have a first class stamp in the corner and each contains four sheets of writing paper.
It was a church activity from way back. A couple of young people were going through a difficult time – out of control hormones that the older generation didn’t know how to deal with. The intention was to write encouraging letters to them, and to other people we thought needed a cheerful word. I confess that I kept an eye on my letter box just in case someone felt the call to write to me, but there was never anything but bills and the usual spam.
It has been a while since I have written any letters. With facebook, emails and texting it seems that communicating with anyone is done over a collection of letters and numbers. Proper punctuation and spelling are tossed out of the cyber window. Maybe with the discovery of these three envelopes three friends or family members will get a proper letter off me.
In Jeremiah 31:33, God promised a new covenant. The one made with Moses at Mount Sinai had its limitations. The Israelites didn’t have it in them to keep the covenant and fell into a cycle of rebellion, repentance, restoration and back to rebellion. God promised a new covenant put into the minds of people and written on their hearts. People would want to please God rather than please themselves and would have access to all the resources to make it happen – the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
Tempting as it is to navel gaze at this point I have decided not to wonder whether it is godly stuff that is in my heart and mind. I am taking as given that God has put His law in my mind and written it on my heart. Poking and pulling about in my heart and mind will no doubt create the holes that would otherwise not be there.
If I were to be able to examine the writing on my heart I would discover not just the bits that God has written there, but the bits that other writers have put there.
Paul describes the church in Corinth as a letter. This particular letter was written by Paul and his fellow leaders through their ministry. Every sermon preached, every rebuke issued, every scripture explained, every kindness showed and every miracle witnessed added a sentence or two, or a paragraph to that letter.
This was not a twitter update or a text message collection of letters and numbers but a multi paged document rich in vocabulary and description. It wasn’t an abridged version, or a summary of events but the complete story told in detail. It wasn’t a steamed and starched account with all the wrinkles ironed out but a real story. The story of the church in Corinth was a page turner.
My life is also a letter. Most of it is written by God, but there have been lots of other contributions. Every sermon preached, every rebuke issued, every scripture explained, every kindness showed and every miracle witnessed has added a sentence or two, or a paragraph to this particular letter. All sorts of people have written things on my heart. Sometimes it has been an ugly word or two and God has gently washed them away with the blood of Jesus. Sometimes I have been the culprit in writing the ugly words.
What’s written in the letter of my life matters because I’m not the only one reading it. I’m not the only one looking to be encouraged by my story. Other people are reading it too. They're are not skim reading either but inspecting the details to find out if it is a credible story. What I allow to be written on my heart and mind is my responsibility.
My story has the potential to be a page turner. When God is the central character and written into every scene and shown to be magnificent, it is a story worth reading.