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Lenten meditations: Sunday, April 6

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As we continue our journey through Lent, Christians throughout Columbia will be sharing their own beautifully written ‘letters from the heart.’ Each is accompanied by corresponding relevant scripture verse(s), and linked to sources for further study. If you would like to join us on Columbia’s Lenten journey, please send us your ‘letter from the heart’ by email. Especially meaningful submissions will be printed. Let us continue our Lenten journey of repentance, meditation, and anticipation day-by-day, to its glorious culmination on Easter morning.

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Today’s scripture readings are from 2 Corinthians 2:14 and 3:6.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd and we are the sheep. God is the giver of life and we are born again. He is the compassionate Father and we are adopted. God is the righteous judge and we are justified.

Although salvation and our relationship to the Lord are described in any number of ways in the New Testament, using a variety of images, metaphors, and analogies, one of the more interesting images is that of Christians as a letter or epistle that Jesus has written, the Holy Spirit being the pen by which He has authored us.

“And you show,” writes Paul, “that you are a letter from Christ delivered 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”

Paul did not personally carry letters of recommendation, although he wrote such letters for those who represented him in the churches he had founded. Paul is defending himself as a minister, stating here that he is only competent from and through God.

In today’s world, letters of recommendation are common on behalf of prospective students seeking admission to a college or university or to a graduate program. Some may be written as part of an application for employment. Paul did not have such recommendations.

The ‘many’ who peddled the Word of God are probably the ‘some’ who promoted themselves and gained a foothold in Corinth on the strength of letters of recommendation. Paul does not altogether deny the validity us using such letters in certain circumstances, but insists that he does not need them when it comes to his relationship with the Corinthians. He had spent a long time in Corinth. How could they possibly now require such letters from him before they acknowledges his apostolic position? In Paul’s world, the need for letters of recommendation could easily indicate that someone lacked sufficient evidence on his own to back up whatever claims he was making. They were a source of credibility.

The ‘letter’ written not on paper but in people is Christ’s visible commendation of Paul, the church’s founder. The church is the Lord’s commendation of him. The point is that the personality of Christ can be seen in the ‘letters’ that he has written. We are those letters!

If we, like the Corinthians, are truly ‘epistles’ written by Christ himself, we will progressively display His glory and the shape of His personality. If the ‘epistle’ that goes by the name ‘Christian’ is illegible or looks nothing like the person who pens them, there is reason to doubt if Christ is truly the author of their life.

What do people discover when they read your life? Are you an author who has made himself known in how you speak and live and minister among others? Is the letter on your heart written in the spirit of the living God?

Joan Danforth

Daughters of the Holy Cross

Columbia, South Carolina

Follow Sharon on Twitter or on Facebook.

If you enjoyed this Lenten meditation, you can find more at Sharon's Columbia Biblical Studies Examiner homepage.

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