God’s inbox was cleaned out this week. At least, one of the most famous sites in Jewish tradition was cleared of personal correspondence from earth, intended for heaven.
People shove notes to God into Jerusalem’s Western Wall, a surviving structure of the Temple Mount. Twice each year, the notes are removed, to make way for more.
As happened this week, thousands of notes are plucked by cleaners armed with big sticks and, presumably, sensitivity for what they are collecting. The notes are buried at the nearby Mount of Olives.
You might have expected God to have, at least, a digital inbox by now. But the practice of treating any one thing or place like God’s letterbox is an outdated idea anyway.
Jesus spoke of communicating with God as something you do confidently, genuinely and often (Mark 11:24, Matthew 6:7-8). He did make reference to praying in private (Matthew 6:5-6) but Jesus was making a contrast with public prayers of empty words, rather than telling us to only pray behind closed doors.
He also said to “ask the Father in my name” (John 14:13-14; 16:23-34), a guide to approaching God built upon Jesus’ revelation that “no one comes to the Father [God] except through me.” (John 14:6)
The Western Wall might have been cleared out this week but God’s inbox is always open (see Philippians 4:6).