Return to Sender
Originally scheduled for January 19
It does take some time for the Post Office to
decide on these things.
But most of us – especially in the senior citizen category – see at
least one or two every year.
Your carefully crafted Christmas card and letter are returned
with a pale yellow label that starts with the phrase, “Return to
Sender.” It then usually
contains a less-than-helpful message like “Insufficient Address”
(what? It worked that
way last year when you delivered it) or “Not Deliverable As
Addressed” which is then followed by “Unable to Forward.”
The Post Office, it seems, has lost track of your friend.
Of course, you then try Google, Bing, Facebook,
Twitter and who knows what else on the internet, on the assumption
that they simply moved and didn’t mention it to anyone.
One of our missing ones lived in Michigan and now seems to
live in Florida, so perhaps we can understand the change – blown
southward by the polar vortex, it seems.
But the postal folks still insist on a specific address, and
we don’t have one. We’ve
lost a friend, apparently.
You ask yourself how this happened.
Often enough the answer is simple:
they died. The
post office doesn’t necessarily know this, of course.
It’s usually the elderly, but the world holds its surprises
too. Once in a while the
disappearance is simply the fact that they moved early in the year,
and the postal forwarding address expired.
You scurry through your collection of cards received, hoping
to find the envelope, or a Christmas letter, or something with a new
address. It’s possible, of course, that they were abducted by space
aliens. But that’s
rather unlikely; most of the people I know are far too dull to be of
interest to space aliens.
Isn’t it interesting, though, that we will
spend a fair amount of time searching out what happened to someone
at the other end of a Christmas card – but if someone is missing
from Communion this morning it doesn’t really seem to bother us?
It’s as if we invited our entire extended family to a holiday
dinner – and then paid no attention to those who didn’t come.
It might be something simple, such as
a minor illness. It
might be a major one.
Perhaps they are upset about
something – or someone.
Could it hurt to call and find out?
Communion is the family meal of the church.
People know who the real Christians are by the way they love
each other. When there
is an empty chair at the table, we ought to ask the reason.
We build the fellowship of the church by caring for each and
every one of our brothers and sisters.
Christ died for each and every one; we can at least watch
after them on his behalf.
As you partake, think of those who are missing.
Then this week seek to bring them back to fellowship.