Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Thanks for surfing by...come again.
5Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the friends, even though they are strangers to you; 6they have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on in a manner worthy of God; 7for they began their journey for the sake of Christ.
- 3 John 1:5-6a
Like a lot of others, moving away from my home state and beginning my first call as a pastor in a small church in NW Arkansas caused me to lose touch with many people I considered friends. I was not able to keep up on what was happening in their lives, the blessings and challenges they were facing, and then Facebook happened. Through Facebook, I have been able to follow the joys and challenges of many of my friends and family all around the world. While it’s not as personal as sitting down over coffee or picking up the phone for a chat, it is what works for many of us now that we are busy and wrapped up in our families and vocations all over God’s world. I do admit that I would much rather be able to spend time visiting in person, but I have found a special joy in logging into Facebook to read updates, blogs, posts and seeing new pictures.
With this new convenience of technology comes blessings beyond measure, but also responsibilities. I have found some things that people post to be hurtful or condemning or downright hateful. To be honest, that sucks some of the joy right out of Facebook, and other social networking means, for that matter.
This verse from 3 John puts things into perspective for me. While the epistle writer was writing specifically to his friend Gaius about the manner in which he had just welcomed a group of traveling missionaries, it has something to say for us, too. The writer thanks Gaius for his hospitality while they were visiting, but also reminds him, that as they are traveling in the name of Christ, Gaius is called to send them on in a manner worthy of God. While it is most likely that he was reminding him to send them with food, supplies and money, perhaps, it is also a reminder to send them on with prayers, encouragement, support and love.
Each day we have a number of people, either on purpose or by stumbling, who visit our Facebook page, blog, MySpace, website or other social networking site. What message do we want to send with them? What image would we like to portray? One of love, grace and discipleship? One worthy of God? When they go on their way to the next website/page, what we have shared with them may have an impact that could be spread to countless others. It’s up to us to faithfully treat all people as friends and to send them on in a manner worthy of God.
Let us pray:
Welcoming God - each day you welcome us anew into your family with love, acceptance and grace. Help us to be bearers of the same to each person we encounter; in person or virtually. Fill us with your spirit, God, we pray. Amen.