“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philemon 1:3
The latest communication trends that come with the advent of texting are completely in harmony with my natural inclinations with one exception.
Text messages tend to be all business. No introduction. No conclusion. Start to finish it’s all about whatever it is you want to say or ask.
They also tend to be brief, which is where they’re different from my usual pattern. I have, and have always had, the ability, that seems to commonly afflict the clergy, of being able to talk endlessly about practically nothing at all.
Many times the only way I can keep myself from generating texts that wouldn’t rival the American Declaration of Independence for length is to limit myself to the use of emojis. And since a picture speaks a thousand words those little pictures are at times a lifesaver for those I’m texting.
Because of this trend toward briefly communicating only one point I find that I often leave out one element of communication nearly always present in the apostle Paul’s letters. Blessings.
Just last evening, as a winter storm was spreading ice and snow across our district, I sent out a message confirming that because of weather conditions church services would be cancelled Sabbath morning. And that’s all that was in my message.
What followed next were responses from church members wishing each other the blessing of a happy Sabbath, and speedy recovery to several who had been ill or in the hospital. I was humbled realizing that I had left out the beauty of even a brief blessing.
Let’s listen to Paul’s blessing again. “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” We know that these words weren’t merely an adornment to his letter. The ministry of delivering to others the grace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was the purpose of Paul’s life. The fact that every letter he sent contained numerous greetings to several people, by name, tells us that the people were as important to him as the message.
Life is full of a myriad of little, fleeting, matters that can, if we’re not careful, eclipse the most important, and the most frequently encountered aspects of our lives. Urgencies and irritations could set the tone for all our relationships and every minute of our lives. I find that the blessings help to ensure that what’s important: friendships, relationships, and kindness, isn’t lost as we address whatever needs to be taken care of.
Let’s remember to be a blessing by sending blessings.
Grace and peace to you and a Happy Sabbath.