August 4, 2014
Stronger than Death
The romantic words of a husband to his wife were carefully written in pencil on the back of a mail-worn postcard. With thousands of other notes and letters like it, the postcard arrived at an Ohio post office, a minuscule part of a routine shipment from the U.S. Postal Service distribution center in Toledo. But the note’s arrival was hardly routine.
Roscoe St. Myer’s postcard, mailed to Mrs. St. Myer of Port Clinton, Ohio, arrived 82 years late. The postmaster said she had no idea how the yellowed postcard ended up in the shipment or where it originated, but noted, “I think that their family would love to have this card. This is quite a keepsake for somebody.”
Post-marked September 14th, 1922 and mailed with a 1-cent stamp, the front of the postcard shows a couple embracing. In the note to his wife on the back, Mr. St. Myer promises to write again. Neither of the St. Myers are believed to be still living.
The couple is no longer alive, and yet a sign of their love for each other remains, a small indication that they were once among us, whispering again beyond the grave. Our lives wither like the grass of the field, and yet somehow—in memories, in hearts, in small signs around us—the love we leave behind endures.
King Solomon, in the Song of Songs, wrote: “For love is as strong as death.” The New Testament further speaks of such enduring love in our fleeting world. “Where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.... But these three remain: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:8, 13).
Paul reminds us that love is the greatest mark our lives can leave behind because it belongs as much to eternity as it does to this moment. Even after our faith becomes sight and our hope is fulfilled, love endures, continuing on from the present and into days long after us.
Jesus calls all Christians to live this way. “My command is this, love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13-14). In the lives we touch, the hands we hold in times of despair, and in the hearts we vow to love, we leave the indelible marks of eternity.
As we would respond to pangs of hunger with food and water, we are called to respond to the cries of a broken world with the love of God, made known at the Cross. Greater love has no one than this. Like a postcard circulating long after our days, the love we write across the lives of others will continue to speak, whispering that God is among us, crying out beyond the grave that could neither silence nor contain Him.
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