PASTOR’S NOTES – May
A letter from home
I got a package from home the other day. It contained bits and pieces of life in South Carolina along with a lovely card in my mother’s distinctive hand. It is rare in these days to get a hand-written note, but my mother is the queen of the overwritten card. She gets these lovely cards and then fills them with the news of the day-inside and out and even up the edges if there is more information to impart. I remember getting them from her when I was away at college and they always made me smile. (Of course the fact that she would also send my favorite apple butterscotch cake in the care package didn’t hurt at all!)
I feel as if I have done a disservice to my children as I am not so much of a letter writer (much less a cake baker). I have failed to pass on the gifts given to me in this way. But there are other gifts that I have given, and they will be enough.
That message from home though, is a real connection, an anchor line that holds us close and draws us in when times get tough. I think of the Bible in much the same way, each book chronicles a bit of our history, each letter denotes a loving ancestor who wanted to make sure that future generations would remember what had transpired to bring them to this moment: letters from home.
But not every book is written by the same author and each recipient community is going through a different trial or situation. Some authors are people living in fear and war, others live in peace and plenty but where there are people… there will be conflict. Each author sees the love of God poured out in different ways, the warrior in battles won, the evangelist in hearts turned, the mother in lives saved to hug another day. We can hear the Word of God poured out for all but we need to listen with an ear tuned to that situation, that community, otherwise we can misinterpret God’s grace for us. This is why it is so empowering to read scripture not only by myself but also in community; different people hear different themes and bring differing life experiences to the understanding which I might never understand if I only ever read scripture by myself.
Letters from home interpreted in community, what a lovely gift of grace, inspired by God, handed down by members of the family, so that we can hear and remember and learn from the past just how great is God’s love for us.