Letters have long been a means of sharing important and heart-felt news. Much of the New Testament takes this form: letters written to individuals or churches, not so much with news from the author, but with instructions and expressions of gratitude meant to hold the burgeoning church together. On Sunday, weâ€™ll read the shortest of these letters: Paulâ€™s epistle to Philemon. Itâ€™s a persuasive piece in which Paul pleads benevolence for the (he hopes formally) enslaved Onesimus.
Nowadays, we might be more likely to receive an email than written correspondence by post. Yet the sentiments expressed are sometimes worth circulating in the same way that letters of the early church were. The below note from Melissa, our contact at the Department of Children and Families, has a lot to say about the faithfulness of our church in meeting an ongoing community need. On behalf of the Missions Ministry, it is a joy to share with you her most recent letter to us:
Kathy [Williamson] and Friends,
It has been a long time since I sent a note thanking you for all the generosity you and your congregation have shown many children and families in this county. The diapers and wipes have been so helpful in the last weeks. The sweatpants and sweatshirts are such a quick resource and a staple for us in emergencies. The quilts honestly are appreciated by all ages, including parents. This partnership over the last 17 years has meant the world to me! I could not do my job without this positive partnership and your generosity! My colleagues look forward to your yearly projects and your specific donations when requested. The grocery cards are the best resource ever! You truly are my angels on earth in my work.
Angels on earth! That compliment gives Paulâ€™s flattery of Philemon a run for its money (â€œâ€¦the hearts of Godâ€™s people are refreshed by your actions, my brotherâ€). In all seriousness, what a blessing to be reminded that our small offerings made throughout the year are making a big, daily difference for the Department, its staff, and the people they serve. Keep up the good work, UCU, and may we take equal care to express our gratitude to those who are there for us.