Dear Val

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Dear Val,

I’ve been reading this devotional, Cosmos to Chaos, you’ve put together for City Church. It’s so good! Not only have I been reading it; I’ve been looking forward to reading it, anticipating each Friday morning when it shows up in my Inbox. 

In the course of reading your letters I realized something: your work on this devotional series is itself a great example of bringing cosmos to chaos. I’m so glad that you have done this hard work; you’ve embodied the very message you’ve communicated. That’s why I decided that you—faithful writer of letters that you are—deserved a letter of your own. 

I remember when you first suggested to me the idea for this series a year ago. I loved it, of course. You know how passionate I am about the intersection of faith and work; how much I want to equip people in their vocational discipleship. I knew about your keen writing ability and editing chops from the RVANews days. And I knew that previous devotionals we’d run on the City Church website under your supervision, had been widely read and favorably received. Cosmos to Chaos was a perfect fit for you and a perfect fit for our church. 

There was one piece of this devotional series that I didn’t quite anticipate when you proposed it, however. I see it clearly now. I see how this series has allowed you to faithfully, gently, humbly listen to people’s lives and speak back the value and dignity you hear. It’s so beautiful to read in each letter you write. It’s one of the unique ways that God has made you. It’s one of the clearest ways that you are bringing order to a sad and chaotic world. 

After you finished writing the final installment in the series, you tweeted: “I’m proud of the work I did and I’m proud of myself for pushing through and getting it done.” You should be proud, Catrow. It’s right and good to fight past the thorns and thistles of this world, and to cultivate good work by the sweat of your brow. You have been imaging the God who made you in His image. You have been bearing the grace of Christ who is re-making you in His image.   

At the very moment you were tweeting your reflections on this project, I tweeted a quote from a dead Dutch Calvinist theologian (as I am wont to do). His name is Herman Bavinck. (You have your Mads, I have my Herm.) He writes, “What we need in these momentous times is not in the first place something extraordinary but the faithful fulfilling of the various earthly vocations to which the Lord calls his people.” 

Val, you’re doing it! In these momentous times, you are faithfully fulfilling the earthly vocation to which Christ has called you. You are listening to people’s pain and to their joy. You are speaking back to them the value in their work. You are helping them see reality in a way that honors them and makes God’s glory known. 

Thank you. It’s good work you’re doing. Your labor is not  in vain. 

Under Aslan’s Paw, 

Erik