Love Letters

Rev. Stephen Foss, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church of Sun Lakes

Carving initials into the bark of a pin oak or aspen tree is not that difficult to do. A walk in the woods might reveal a half dozen or so renderings. In my day, we took a much simpler path: We carved the initials in freshly poured cement left unattended to “cure” toward its transition into a driveway or sidewalk.

In the eighth grade, I took the plunge and declared my love to a young lady whose initials were JM. Such love rarely exists at that age, though Shakespeare asserted the young love between Romeo and Juliet whose characters were only a few years older. The initials I carved into the cement that day 55 years ago are still there, just like the tragic tale of the Capulets and Montagues—a love that died. I’m just thankful that neither of us lost our lives over it.

Love letters, the kind where more than initials are revealed, are the archives of the heart. There are those who have built their entire careers researching and discovering these hidden or long-lost declarations of affection. The second president of our country, John Adams, and his wife Abigail shared their intense devotion and care for each other while John was serving our burgeoning nation in the fight for independence. Letters from Beethoven were discovered after his death, revealing a secret love he had with one known only as “Immortal Beloved.” Intriguing.

There are eight chapters in the Bible that reveal the passionate story between King Solomon and a woman named Shulamite who had captured his heart. Perhaps Solomon wouldn’t have been quite so descriptive had he known the enduring strength of his musings on love. Or could it actually be a reflection of God’s intense love for those created in His image?