LETTERS – Our 2019 Lenten Theme
1. a letter.
letter, missive, communication, dispatch,
a poem or other literary work in the form of a letter or series of letters.
2. New Testament Epistles: A written communication; a term inclusive of all forms of written correspondence, personal and official, in vogue from an early antiquity. As applied to the twenty-one letters, which constitute one-half of the New Testament, the word “epistle” has come to have chiefly a technical and exclusive meaning. It refers, in common usage, to the communications addressed by five (possibly six) New Testament writers to individual or collective churches, or to single persons or groups of Christian disciples. Thirteen of these letters were attributed to Paul; three by John; two by Peter; one each by James and Jude; one–the epistle to the Hebrews–by an unknown writer.
These beautiful letters, now scripture, are instructive in what it means to be a Christian. They contain prayers and directions for how to live a Christian life, they include words of encouragement to those being persecuted for their beliefs, they are words of longing to be reunited with the people the authors have preached to and pastored, and they are love letters – expressions of love for their fellow believers, and they are especially, expressions of love for Christ. There is wisdom to be found today in these ancient scriptures, for God is still speaking through these words.
Letters, for those of us who have been fortunate enough to have received them from our loved ones, understand the importance of receiving a message in someone’s handwriting. We understand that we can often only express what we truly and deeply feel in the form of a letter. And, we know how precious those letters become over the years – especially being able to read a letter from someone we have lost. Seeing their handwriting, reading words long forgotten, and even the smell of the paper can bring memories rushing back.
Lent, the 40 days leading up to Easter, invites us to make our minds and hearts ready for remembering Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. In many traditions, it is a time of fasting and giving up something. But this year, we invite you to take something on – remembering and even practicing the art of letter writing.
The Lenten devotional is a gift we give to each other, a reading for each day of Lent. The daily readings are written by members of our congregation, Sunday school students and other friends of the church. Please prayerfully consider submitting a devotional based on this year’s theme. The daily readings are sent via email and hard copies of the devotional will also be available. We request that you submit your devotional by Feb. 1, 2019. You may deliver a written copy to the church office or email entries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put Lenten Devotional in the subject line. If you have questions please email us or call Kathy Fauth at 708.408.6817.
Here are some ideas for you to consider, as you prepare something to be included in our annual Lenten devotional.
· Which one of the Epistles in the New Testament is your favorite? Or, what passage from one of these letters is your favorite? Why?
· If you were to write a letter to God or Jesus, what would you say? What would you ask?
· If were you to receive a letter from God or Jesus, what would you hope to hear from God or Jesus?
· Are there other figures in the Bible you would like to write a letter too?
· Write about a letter you received that was especially meaningful to you.
· Write about a letter you wrote that was especially meaningful to you.
· Write about a letter you wished you had written.
· Is there a letter you’ve been meaning to write, but have put off? Do you need to forgive someone? Do you need to ask for forgiveness? Do you need to let someone know how you feel about them? Do you need to write a letter to someone you’ve been missing? Consider sharing your letter or what it meant to you to finally write the letter.