Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all. I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the sign of genuineness in every letter of mine; it is the way I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. (2 Thessalonians 3:16-18)
Missing The Written Word
One of the enjoyable things about reading the epistles of Paul is how he begins his letter and how he ends. There is a certain style and grace to the exhortations at the beginning of his appeals followed by an ending that is compassionate and sincere. Read again our text for the day. He begs peace upon those he writes. Imploring the Lord of peace the apostle blesses those who hear his letter to receive the grace of God. There is also an appeal for the presence of the Lord to be with him. Very important to this letter is the personal appeal Paul affixes to the note that he is writing by his own hand endearing himself closely to the brethren. Closing the man from Tarsus prays a simple pray of blessing to them.
In the day Paul wrote this letter there were no printing presses, computers with spell check and grammar check, texting, Facebook, tweet, and IM’s to cloud the landscape. He wrote this in a personal way. Pen to paper as it was. Time and energy to write it all down. Someone had to deliver the message. The recipients opened the letter and read it; and then read it again; and read it a lot of times for others to hear. They copied the letter. They shared the letter. It was treasured because it was a personal exhortation from their brother in Christ.
Today we live with technology. We no longer have personal notes. I have letters my mother wrote to me while I was stationed overseas. These are treasured letters that I can read again and again. Other correspondence I have from my father, aunts, friends and host of brethren. They are special pieces of paper. And while we have the means to communicate more than any time in history we are less personal with our relationships. We text. Instant messages are sent over the cloudways. Emails fill our screens. No matter how efficient we make it there will never be a sense of personal contact. What happened to putting pen to paper and writing a personal letter or note? Sad isn’t it.
I read Paul’s letters and how he ends them and think how special they were to others. It could be a wonderful work we can do for others by taking the time to “write this greeting with my own hand.” Now I know you are laughing because you are getting this message through the means of email but trust me sitting and writing to each one of you on a daily basis and mailing them out on a daily basis would be – daunting. Suffice it to say I enjoy writing these notes to encourage and uplift. But there are so many other occasions that we should send out personal notes to people we love.
When is the last time you sent a note or card to your parents? How about a sweet note to your wife or husband written in your own hand? Our children should have memories of our lives together with the written word. Brethren can be refreshed when they open the mail and find we sent a note or card – written by hand. Wow. Simple things. We have almost forgotten how to write anymore. Make it a weekly habit to write someone. Let’s use Thursday as a day to write. Throw-Back-Thursday is a good time to go back in time to pen (or pencil) and paper and say hello to someone. Make it a TBT day with P&P!
Kindness is like snow – it beautifies everything it covers. (Selected)