Devotional 5/18/2020

I have never considered myself a tech savvy pastor.  The idea of putting things all of the internet or even filling my sermon with video aides just sounds exhausting to me.  If you are my facebook friend, you know that I rarely post.  Mostly because social media brings me no joy.  And that is not about what people post, it just does not work for me regardless on how positive.  I have always really disliked videoing my self speaking and so taped worship has never appealed to me. Honestly, some days voicemail seems like too much technology to me.  

Yep, you now know that your pastor is secretly a grumpy old lady who wants to say things like 'kids these days.'  I am my own grandmother who thought Keurig coffee maker was just short of the devil's tool.  I just simply do not derive energy from technology.  

And yet here we are.  For the past two months, most of my job has been tech based.  You have never heard more from me but it is via email, Facebook and youtube.  i have learned how to frame shots and think about my backgrounds.  I have learned things we can do and what we cannot do based on our tech equipment and access.  We have Zoom Bible studies and meetings.  

I can't really say that I have discovered in this time that secretly I love it.  I still miss seeing you all and long for the days of normalcy.  But 'normal' is a long way off.  And while I cannot say that I am filled spiritually or emotionally from tech use, we are doing it.  We have managed to spend the last two months physically apart but very must still a community.  A community that is more tech-based but that is still connected, still loving, still generous, still whole!  

This time has made me think much about Paul.  A large part of the New Testament are letters written by Paul to other Christians.  Paul was using the most advanced tech of his time (the open letter to a community) to stay connected as well.  I have never really thought about the letters like this before.  I bet Paul would have rather been with his friends, his colleagues, and in a familiar and comfortable place.  I bet he would have rather been speaking face to face rather than writing another letter reminding Christians of how they are to behave. But he stuck with it.  He did what he was supposed to do in the name of God and love of others and so remained apart from large parts of his community.  And what is crazy- the communities still grew!  They were able to stay connected, be loving, be generous, and whole, just like us.  

Take the time to read the beginning and end of some of the letters attributed to Paul in the New Testament (Romans thru Philemon).  Notice how Paul names how much he misses them, how he prays for them, and even takes time to name some by name.  This is one of our guides for this time!  We should be praying for each other, missing each other, and keeping up with each other even while we have to be apart. 

Paul's technology and ours is certainly very different.  And the circumstances of why we are apart are also different.  But Paul models for us how to be a community apart.  We have done well these past few months but I know many of you are tiring of how things are.  So turn to Paul.  Note how Paul names that he wishes they were together but continues apart.  Take strength from how early Christian communities grew while apart.  Take comfort in knowing that even one of the Christian greats dealt with how to be a community apart.  And take joy from knowing that it takes alot more to break up the body of Christ. 

With Love, 

Beth