The Rector's Weekly Column

Rev. Victor H. Morgan


         In an attempt to ‘save’ the post office, one commentator recently proposed cutting mail delivery back to every other day. I don’t know whether this scheme would put this venerable national intuition back into the black or not, but I do find it sad that no one – or very few – write letters anymore.

         It is certainly true that electronic communication is faster, cheaper and at times more dependable than the old-fashioned letter. Yet, I am not sure that it yields the same attention and emotional satisfaction.

         When I was a boy, we were on a rural route and hearing the postman’s car pull up was an exciting moment. No sooner than he had driven away, I raced down the driveway to see what he had left. If there was letter or card, with my name on it – prefaced with “Master” up till age 12 – there was real cause for excitement. I could hardly wait to rip open the envelope and read the message. A few of these letters and cards I still have.

         But, back to the dilemma of making the United States Postal Service financially solvent in the face of modern electronic technology . . . I should like to offer a modest proposal, one I doubt would solve all the problems of the post office, but it would be a start.

         My proposal is this: All who profess and call themselves Christians resolve to write and mail at least one handwritten letter of encouragement a week. It could be to a shut-in, a child, an elderly person or most anyone.

         Now, let’s do the math. The number of Christians in the United States is estimated at 240 million. Multiply that number by the cost of a first-class stamp – currently 49 cents. If this were to happen, just one letter would produce an additional eleven billion, seven hundred sixty million dollars in revenue for the USPS a week. I will let you figure how many dollars would be generated annually.

         But the ones who would reap that greatest benefit would not be our friends at the USPS, but the senders and receivers of these letter. Blessings would go both ways and be multiplied many times over.

         More than that, this ‘save the post office’ plan actually has a clear, biblical mandate. It is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:11. Here the Apostle Paul calls on his readers to encourage and build others up. The verse reads: “Wherefore comfort [encourage] yourselves together, and edify one another.” What better way of beginning to do what Paul is directing than writing a letter of encouragement.

         In the case of the Christians at Thessalonica, they are already involved in this work of mutual encouragement. Nevertheless, Paul thinks it necessary to admonish them to keep it up.

         What are you waiting for? Close your eyes and visualise someone you know who needs encouragement. Then get out your old-fashioned pen and paper and start writing . . . and yes, don’t forget to drop it off at the post office.

         Almighty and most loving Father, in whose hand is the life of every living thing, we bring before thee those who stand in need of encouragement. Give us a share in bringing light and hope into their lives. As we bless in thy name, may we be blessed. We ask this in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Rev. Victor H. Morgan is rector of St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Blue Ridge.

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