Dear John and Hazel,
We’re loving it here, and our house has a beautiful outlook including a resident Hoopoe….”
So began a postcard from Spain.
I love receiving cards of any kind, and I enjoy sending them. Like me I wonder if you’ve ever stood in a card shop, trying to restrain your laughter at the captions on some of the more outrageous ones?
This year my brother sent me a birthday card. On the front was an Arctic landscape with three polar bears staring at a newly constructed phone mast. Daddy bear says: “What a monstrosity.” Mummy bear says: “Environmental vandalism!” Little bear says: “Cool! I’ve got a signal.”
Then there are the more serious ones. Some with ready-made sentiments like: “Have a Speedy Recovery” or “Treasure the many thoughts and memories and know that others care and share your sad loss.” And there are the cards we buy, later to discover printed on the back: “This card is blank inside for your personal message.”
It may be quite a challenge to find the right words without seeming insincere or patronising. But what we write can be like a prayer for someone we care about. Well-chosen words may touch the reader with a ripple or even a wave of love: they are important and they are worth caring about.
Okay, so here’s the more spiritual bit: Jesus is like God’s postcard from heaven to you and me. He is God’s mouthpiece, speaking words of wisdom and guidance. One of his best known teachings is what we call the Beatitudes:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 5:3-10)
Even if we receive no cards from home or abroad, what a friend we have in Jesus (as the hymn goes) and if we read our Bible, we’ll receive messages a plenty!
by Rev’d John Bell