I have a lot of books. Most of them I have read. I haven’t colored in all of them yet. Beat you to the punch line! Anyway I was going through some of them the other day and came across this on the fly leaf of one. At first it seemed like an invasion of privacy. Here is a personal remark made to some one by a Pastor who obviously was thankful for the work done by a Sunday School Superintendent. This was a gift and somehow I have it. I don’t know how it came into my possession. It was given as a gift a year before I was born. I have been to Emmanuel in New Rockford a long time ago. I don’t know how I got this book. I don’t think I am crazy enough to steal a book from the Sunday School.
Peggy Noonan, a speechwriter for Ronald Reagan wrote a book called “What I Saw at the Revolution”. She said that she wanted to show “the worlds behind the words” of the speeches she wrote. I am finding that I want to write and preach about the “Word behind the Worlds” that we inhabit and we all inhabit different worlds as we move through our life. We have the world of work and play and vocation and family and all of them are in the same “world” but they are different places in that world. They are like different worlds that we move in and out of from day to day and yet all of them are a part of us and form our whole view of the “world”.
So what is the Word behind this world of which I got a glimpse? Pastor Christian wants to thank a fellow worker for faithful Sunday School Superintendent work. He doesn’t personalize the message – no name – just the simple statement of appreciation. The world of 1951 was a lot different from today. The New Rockford Sunday School was probably pretty big and it was a job of responsibility. My guess is the Pastor is writing for the whole church its appreciation. Today we would thank someone by given them a gift card to Barnes and Noble or Amazon. This gift is a real book. A book called “I, Paul”. It is a novelized treatment and fictional account of Paul’s missionary life. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet but what I have read so far is not bad in a dime store novel kind of way. It is the story of the man whose first thought in writing a letter was to thank everyone for their partnership in the Gospel and their labor in the Lord even when some of those receiving the letter were going to get “what for” later. It is the story of a man over taken by Christ and giving meaning to the statement that the life he lived in the flesh he lived by faith in the Son of God who loved him and gave himself for him. The Word behind this world that I caught a glimpse of was thanks in the Good News of Jesus. We appreciate what you did and encouragement to continue because that is your identity “in Christ”. It may seem a little “ham fisted” in our day and age but I would appreciate this more than a Hallmark Card.