Although social media, texting, and emails have become the new normal for communication, there was a time when putting pen to paper, placing it in a stamped envelope and dropping it in the mail was the way we stayed in touch with those far away. Some of us would foot the bill for long distance phone calls but they were considered a splurge. Receiving letters was something special. Writing letters also allowed us to be more careful with the words we chose. I remember the joy of hearing my name during mail call in the military when I would get news from home.
The specialness of a letter would be made even more special if that letter came from Jesus. That is what occurred to the seven churches in Asia in the book of Revelation. In the letter to the church at Ephesus, Jesus began by commending them for their work, endurance, and intolerance for those who were evil. Then the other shoe dropped. in Revelation 2:4 He said: [But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.] They were doing well but....then there was the apparent cooling of her love.
Many of us have special days in our lives. Some of these are spiritual milestones. I was blessed to have a friend text me and wish me a happy birthday because he remembered my baptism birthday. It was sent a week early but it was a joy to me that someone remembered. I was baptized on Pentecost Sunday, 1988. There are two images that are part of that special day in my life. The first was that I had been putting of baptism because I felt that there was a rock in my heart that I needed to remove before turning my life over to Christ. I knew I could not do it on my own and asked Him for help. That Sunday I woke ot find the rock gone so I joyfully told the pastor when I walked into church "I am ready to be baptized". He surprised me by telling me that baptism was not required and that I should not feel obligated to be immersed. He then said "I will gladly baptize you but I don't want you to think that the church is making it a requirement. We recognize your Catholic baptism" My response was, "I believe the Bible tells me it is and I don't recognize my Catholic baptism as what the Bible teaches." My baptism was scheduled for the conclusion of worship service and that is where my second image comes in. There are no words that can adequately convey the joy I felt when I came up out of the water. I then looked around and saw the faces who witnessed my baptism and thought, "how can they remain so matter of fact if they experienced this?" It seemed to me that they saw baptism as no big deal. In all honesty, I felt a bit disappointed in them. Years have passed and I sometimes think that my emotional state is more aligned with them than with the Vic that was baptized that Sunday. Being a Christian is sometimes more a matter of fact statement than a joyful proclamation.
There is the old story of a man who response to his wife's complaint that he never told her he loved her: "I told you I loved you when I married you twenty-five years ago. If I ever change my mind, you will be the first to know." Does abandoning the love we had at first mean we take our relationship with Him for granted? Does it mean we no longer feel the joy we did when we first came to Christ? There are many things we can accomplish for HIs kingdom but they are dampened if we abandon the love we had at first. Let's strive to remember what that was like and make it part of every day.
Have a blessed Saturday