Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Long Lost Love Letters

In November of 1944, the height of World War II, Lt Joseph Matthews wrote a letter to his wife, who lived in Greenwich Village, New York City.  In the letter, he shared the kind of intimate thoughts that a couple in love feel for one another.  He told about a mutual friend in the army with him at the time.  He assured her he was okay. And he signed off with, “God is with you.  I love you.”  The letter never reached his wife.  Earlier this year, it arrived at its address, where the current resident, a 27 year old New York woman, opened it.  She was immediately captivated by the letter, and became determined to find Lt Matthews and his wife.  This past May, she managed to locate Matthews’ daughter, who confirmed that the handwriting on the letter was definitely her father’s.  Both he and his wife had passed away, but she and her sister were overjoyed to receive this long-lost note.  No one knows where it had been for nearly 70 years. 
            Put yourself in the position of those daughters.  How exciting would it be to read a letter written by your dad to your mom when they were both in their early 20s?  Wouldn’t you want to know everything it said?  Wouldn’t you treasure every word?  Now think about this: What if God wrote a letter to our church 2000 years ago?  Would you want to read it?  Would you want to interpret it carefully, so that you knew exactly what God was saying to us?  The truth is, God did write a letter to this church 2000 years ago.  In fact, He wrote seven letters to this church, and to all of His churches.  Most people think of Revelation as a book about the end of the world.  But there is more to the last book of the Bible than trying to figure out who the tenth horn of the beast represents.  All this year, we’ve been talking about how to represent Christ well in a non-Christian culture.  But we need to acknowledge that nowhere in Scripture are we told to do this alone.  God created the Church for a reason.  As we here at WBC get ready to celebrate 50 years since our founding, and as we look forward to putting in place some important changes through our Westbury 20/20 plan, I think it’s important for us to talk about what a church is supposed to be.  That’s where these seven letters, found in Rev. 2-3, come in.  For the next seven weeks, all the way up to our 50th anniversary, we'll be looking at these letters on Sunday mornings.  What was Jesus saying to these churches?  What is He saying to us today?

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