Summary: Paul is sharing with his dear brothers and sister in Philippi three things that they need to be complete - 1. They need to learn how to CELEBRATE 2. They need to learn how to PRAY 3. They need to learn how to Think Straight
Title: P. S. - You Need These!
Paul is sharing with his dear brothers and sister in Philippi three things that they need to be complete -
1. They need to learn how to CELEBRATE
2. They need to learn how to PRAY
3. They need to learn how to Think Straight
Theme: These Three Things - Celebration/Prayer/Straight Thinking
Grace and peace from God our Father and from Jesus Christ who came to take away the sin of the world!
In the last few years we have witnessed the dying gasps of a once honored and treasured tradition in our country. That tradition being the sending and receiving of a personal handwritten letter. Today, the United States Postal Service delivers more junk mail than they do First Class mail. An overwhelmingly majority of people today choose to use an email or a text to do most of their interpersonal communication. It is estimated that over 200 billion emails are sent and/or received every day with nearly half of them being spam or what we could call junk emails. On top of that there are more than 15 billion text messages that are sent each and every day as well and none of that includes the billions of messages and or videos that are shared on Facebook , Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
So, it appears that we humans are communicating with one another but we are no longer using handwritten letters or notes to accomplish that task. Even those who do use personal handwritten letters over the years have reduced them down to one or two pages at most. Most personal handwritten letters are actually personal handwritten cards or notes. Believe it or not some 50 years ago the average handwritten letter was somewhere between 10 - 20 pages. Now, that is a lot of handwriting and a lot of pages. Much more than most people want to do today.
Many of us here this morning either have or may know someone who has a shoe box or some drawer that have some personal letters stored. However, if the current trend continues that too will become a thing of the past. And aside from a quick note or two through email or through a text deep and meaningful conversations will also be a thing of the past as well. We are rapidly becoming a society that attempts to communicate in 20 words or less or merely with an emogi or a giff.
Hopefully, we will see some type of renaissance of personal handwriting. It is difficult for a text or for an email to carry the emotions or the personality that one's handwriting does on a page or two of paper. Siobhan (shiv + awn) Philips is an associate professor of English at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania and she believes that there is something very special about sending a personal handwritten note or letter:
"Words on paper bring something that one person has touched to the touch of another; they metonymically1 ( met' e nim'ik ally) figure the human body by transporting its combination of persistence and perishability".
In other words a handwritten letter has the ability to touch someone physically and emotionally in a way that a email, a text or a giff is unable. A letter is able to take on a sender's personality and personhood.
The Apostle Paul would agree. Of course, in his day there was no email, twitter or texting. Paul had to do things the real old fashion way. Paul had to use parchment, a reed pen and some black ink made from soot. He would either have to write the letter himself or use a secretary which in that day was called an amanuensis. We know that towards the end of his life Paul depended more and more on an amanuensis because of the treatment he suffered from his persecutors. Bible scholars tell us that the bones in Paul's hands were broken more than once. His persecutors thought that one of the ways Paul could be stopped was by breaking the bones of his hands. If Paul couldn't write or hold a scroll it would deter his ability to teach and share the message of Jesus across the known world. We also know that later in his life Paul continued to suffer from some severe eye troubles as well. Sometimes we forget how committed and how dedicated Paul was for the cause of Jesus. He didn't let his weakened eyes nor his broken fingers and hands stop him from sharing the message of Jesus.
In almost everyone of his letters Paul had a knack for adding some extra message at the end. A type of P.S. (Postscript) . He would begin a conclusion and almost bring the letter to an end and then he would remember something that he wanted to share and would then add one or two more little postscripts. Paul had so much love for his congregations that it was hard for him to stop writing without wanting to share one more insight, one more revelation or one more challenge for them do. It's like what happens when most parents are sending their child off to college for the first time. They say good bye but then they think of one more thing that they want to share - one more piece of advice, one more "I love you" or one more time to remind them to drive carefully, go to class, do their homework and wash their clothes.