“You keep the postcard industry going …”
Inevitably, these are Kevin’s words to me whenever we go on holiday for indeed, my almost first port of call is to the post office for stamps for the said postcards. In itself, the search has led to some interesting experiences – avoiding a herd of urban cows in India, walking cautiously down a dark alley in Mexico City, being amazed by the 18th century murals in Prague’s P.O, enjoying the pithy scriptural quotations taped onto the clerks’ windows in Barbados. It is not so much what I write on the postcard that I enjoy . I know that most of the cards I send will arrive after I return but that is not the point. At the moment of writing, those people are with me in thought and in spirit and I like the feeling . In clearing my parents’ home, I found a large number of cards I had sent them and it spurred me to look through the postcards I have been sent as I have never thrown any away. My sister was amazed to know that I still had those she had sent me while she was training to be a ballet teacher. Aah- what memories returned!
St Paul would have been a keen rival in the postcard stakes had they been around when he was journeying around the Mediterranean.- Ephesus ,Malta, Cyprus, Rome…The Acts of the Apostles describe his journeys so vividly. I do not think however that a small postcard space would have been enough for all he wanted to say to the new churches that were springing up. No – there needed to be longer letters and they needed to be read out loud for maximum effect.
Jesus did not have the time to record his own thoughts and his disciples were not skilled enough to write for him. We rely on the work of the gospel writers for the stories of his ministries. His family probably had to rely on word of mouth to know anything about him. This is why the gospel writers are so important to us as Christians.
In virtually every collect or special prayer that we read every week, we ask God to help us to follow his words and to remain strong in our faith. Understanding the words of Jesus is not straightforward, it is not black and white. We need to look at the context of the words and to whom Jesus is speaking. Perhaps it is a good thing that we do not know how he says what he does because it gives us greater freedom to look deeper into what he means. We know that He was speaking to everyone – the rich and the poor, the slaves and the free, the powerful and the oppressed, men and women, young and those full of life’s experience . When He spoke his words, all those people were all in his thoughts, they were all with him in spirit.
When we listen to the gospel read out for us in church, it is like postcards from Jesus reminding us that we are always with him, as he is with us until, the end of time. They contain messages full of colour and energy and messages that we must hold in our hearts.
Rev Betty Port