My Friend, the Stamp Collector

He taught me a new way to detach stamps from envelopes. As a boy I had been taught to soak the envelopes in water for several minutes until the stamps came off. He showed be how, instead of soaking them, you spray the stamps with a citrus cleanser and they come off almost immediately.

We detach stamps from envelopes so we can display them in special stamp albums. He had collected every United States stamp issued from the year of his birth to the present. He helped boost my stamp collection with a very generous donation.

I showed him the album of Nigerian stamps I had collected as a kid when I lived in Nigeria.

We had several opportunities to discuss stamp collecting in my weekly pastoral visits to him as his body was succumbing to the ravages of cancer. When the end drew near the visits happened daily and we no longer talked about stamps. Instead we sang his favorite hymn, “The Old Rugged Cross.”

Isaiah 61:1–3

The Year of the LORD’s Favor

[1] The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
[2] to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
[3] to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified. (ESV)

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