“You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all;
and you show that you are a letter of Christ,
prepared by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God,
not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”
(2 Corinthians 3:2-3)
On Being “Letters of Christ”
As I considered what I might write, I came across these words that are on the cover of the book about the Waldensians – You are My Witnesses. They are familiar words in that I have read them many times over, so I was a bit surprised to find myself moved by them. “You are a letter of Christ… You are a letter from Christ.” Have you ever thought of yourself as a ‘letter of Christ?” Seriously – Paul calls us “Letters of Christ.” Wow! What does this mean for us in how we live our lives? I began thinking about how much I enjoy receiving letters – even in this electronic instant messaging age. There is something warm about being able to read words over and over again. There is something reassuring about being able to touch the texture of the paper.
So what about us – how are we letters of Christ? What do we say with the ‘inkless letters’ of our lives – with the words and actions of our hearts? In what ways do our lives tell of Christ in what we do? What distinguishes us in this world in a way that makes others want to “read us over and over again?” According to Paul, it is the Spirit of the living God that is the source of our writing. It is the Spirit of the Living God who is the source of all that is written on our hearts. How is that source reflected in the workplace, the playground, the session meeting and golf course?
These poetic words challenge us to remember that we have been entrusted to be ambassadors for the Church of Jesus Christ to one another and to the world. They challenge us to remember that it is ultimately our “very being” – the incarnation of our faith – that communicates who the God of Creation was and is. We – you and I – are the “letters” that are being read by those both familiar and unfamiliar with the grace we’ve received. We are the modern-day letters and communicators that proclaim with our actions the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
As I continue to understand the depth of the faithfulness of our churches and ministries, I can easily affirm that you are “living letters of Christ” in and to the world. Consider the many ministries of which you are each a part – from feeding the hungry (a letter of Christ to the world); teaching children and youth about the love of God (a letter of Christ to the world); making a joyful noise together in worship (a letter of Christ to the world); restoring justice in a broken system (a letter of Christ to the world); rebuilding regions that have been devastated by natural disasters (a letter of Christ to the world); fighting gun violence in a cry to stop the senseless killings (a letter of Christ to the world); engaging in tough discussions on race and other barriers that keep us from God and one another (a letter of Christ to the world); partnering with brothers and sisters in other lands (a letter of Christ to the world); reading the Bible in a way that is relevant for your daily life (a letter of Christ to the world); praying in a manner that emboldens you to take action against the brokenness around us (a letter of Christ to the world). I along with so many others, have experienced how the “tablets of your human hearts” give life to the hope of the Gospel in our midst.
So I hope you find these words from the Apostle Paul as encouraging as I do. It is a word of hope at a time when the global and national climate is one of polarization and fear. May we take heart – may we be encouraged in our witness. May we believe that God’s powerful Spirit works through us. May others read the pages of our hearts and discover the love of Christ.