Lively Epistles (Devotional)

Phyllis Nissila

Emily Dickinson wrote her “letters to the world” in verse form. Ludwig  Beethoven performed his themes on musical instruments. Ansell Adams captured his black and white view of creation via camera lens. Through these gifted artists readers, listeners, and viewers experience afresh the world of sight and sound. We are inspired.

Each of us, a singular study in DNA, a genre of one, presents a message to the world, too. Though few will be known outside of home or workplace like the famed ones above, all will still leave an impression via the “medium” of our lives on those who “read, hear, and view” us day to day—today. In fact, it has been said that each person influences an average of 250 people in his/her lifetime. Being human, of course, we will have offered a mix of good and not so good “influences” by life’s end. But leave a mark we will.

Christians enjoy another opportunity: the chance to be God’s “living epistles” to our time, place, and people. Through the poetry, music, and “black and whites” of our days, so to speak, we can offer a glimpse of God to a weary world. Sometimes, how we handle the mistakes we make will be the message. Other influences will only be known come eternity. And for those who fear that obscurity limits opportunity, here is an encouraging anecdote that mirrors the possibilities.

An elderly friend, Mame, told this story. Back in 1918, Mame’s aunt lost both her husband and her baby to influenza. Since she was unable to afford to live on her own the young woman moved to the Midwest to live with her brother where she got a job packaging Arrow shirts. She liked the shirts and the type of men who wore them—young and handsome, like the advertisements suggested—so one day she tucked a little note inside a pocket of one of the shirts before wrapping it up. The note gave her name, address, age, and a little more information about herself. Several months later a young, single man in Oregon purchased the shirt and found the message. He was intrigued. After many letter exchanges and a trip from Oregon to Wisconsin, the two eventually fell in love and later, married.

Her hopes were slim, but Mame’s aunt took the chance anyway. She sent her “message” out the only way she knew how—and netted the prize.  And so did her young man.

What is your “message” from the Holy Spirit? How will you send it? You never know who may find it–and how much they may need it today.

As for me: “My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king: my tongue is the pen of a (ready) writer” (Psalm 45:1, NIV).



An inspiring read:

This is my letter to the world,

That never wrote to me,–

The simple news that Nature told,

With tender majesty.

Her message is committed

To hands I cannot see;

For love of her, sweet countrymen,

Judge tenderly of me!

(Emily Dickinson)

An inspiring listen: (Beethoven’s 7thSymphony)

An inspiring look: (Ansell Adams’ black and white photographs)

An inspiring view:

(An incredible video of a father’s love for his son—one of the most powerful messages of all.)

This entry was posted in Bible/literary themes, elements, Devotionals, most recent posts and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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