Signed, Sealed, Delivered…

Ben Schoettel   -  


In Irwyn Ince Jr’s book The Beautiful Community (highly recommend) there is a sub-header to a section Signed, Sealed, Delivered. If you don’t know, that is the title of a fantastic song by Stevie Wonder. The song is all about being reconciled (in this case, to your “baby.”)

  • “Like a fool I went and stayed too long, now I’m wondering if your love’s still strong…”
  • “Then that time I went and said goodbye, now I’m back and not ashamed to cry…”
  • “I’ve done a lot of foolish things, that I really didn’t mean, didn’t I? Seen a lot of things in this old world, when I touch them, they mean nothing…”
  • “Here I am… Signed. Sealed. Delivered. I’m Yours. (You got my future in your hands.)”

This idiom describes the transfer of deed when purchasing a home. The deed had to be SIGNED, then SEALED with a wax emblem, and then DELIVERED to the new owner. The idiom is often used more loosely to describe a completed satisfaction. When this process is complete, ownership has changed, the house is YOURS.

Just like how a leaky faucet, broken window, or mold behind the walls are now officially YOUR problem once you buy a house, Stevie celebrates that even through all of his mistakes and wanderings, at the end of the day, he is in loving hands with his “baby.”

When we look at what it means to embrace holy relationships with both God and each other, it is important to get to the right starting point. In the ways of the world, relationships are navigated to either get something or avoid something. The same goes for God. It is easy to try to start running to God to get the blessings we think we are missing out on, or to try to avoid consequences or punishment for our mistakes. Both of these desires from God are not wrong, but if that is where our Christianity begins, we miss a foundational element to our faith that is essential… God desires to be with us.

As God used Moses to lead the people out of Egypt, it was made clear that they were to have “no other gods before me” and God gives Moses all of these laws and rituals to obey. It can be easy in reading these moments in the story of God to see God as a new boss. You don’t work at Walmart anymore, this is Target, this is how we do things around here. I don’t want to see you wear a blue shirt for the rest of your life.” It can then be easy to view our relationships with other people through that same lens. “Oh man… I can’t believe that person said/did that… I better get away from them before the boss finds out and sees that I’m with them…”

That is not the God we serve… but if you aren’t careful… we forget this. Right before the Ten Commandments we see that “God spoke all these words: I am the Lord YOUR God.” (Exodus 20:1a) When this phrase is theologically dissected it reads that God is directly relating to us in an inseparable way. This phrase is not “listen to me, I’m your boss” it is “listen to me, I’m YOURS.” This is a relational intimacy that God desires and is the heart behind every command or decree. God does not want anything to get between us and holy relationship.

In the book, Irwyn writes, “Knowing God always includes loving fellowship INITIATED by him toward us. It is sheer grace. There is a day coming when the whole Earth will be full of this kind of knowledge of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:9, Habakkuk 2:14 references.)

We see this in the parable of the prodigal son. It’s like the son was singing Stevie Wonder’s confessions all the while the father was running toward him singing “signed, sealed, delivered, I’m YOURS!”

God initiated loving fellowship with us FIRST and God’s FIRST desire is for us to remain in loving fellowship. Say that again… God initiated fellowship with us FIRST and God’s FIRST desire is for us to remain in loving fellowship.

As we remember this truth about God’s grace, my hope is that we can share God’s response with the world around us, with our faith planted on the foundation of God’s endless love. When we mess up, God says “I’m yours and you’re mine.”

So, when the rest of the world is messed up, how can we respond the same? Loving fellowship.