A Foretaste of Heaven
All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name.
The body of Christ is diverse.
Now, I’ve said that a lot in my life, but it wasn’t until the last year I noticed how little it was truly lived out in my life. My church is largely white; my community is largely white. While some of that is geography, some of that is implicit choice. And if this past year taught me anything, it was that such willed or unwilled segregation is still just that: segregation.
And it’s time to put a stop to it.
But it can be hard to make new connections without moving or without uprooting, and not all of us are called just yet to do that. Enter the blessedness of the Internet, where we have the opportunity to encounter and enter into community with voices that are not our own. When I’m asked what’s the good of Internet community, I’m mindful that at its best it keeps me honest that Jesus doesn’t look like me, sound like me, act like me. At least not exclusively. At least not historically.
The incarnate Jesus isn’t white, doesn’t speak English (at least he didn’t during his time on earth), didn’t have a master’s degree, or a credit card. In fact, Jesus and I are fundamentally dissimilar except in our humanness, a detail I find a lot more palatable when I make his humanness look and sound and act a lot more like my own.
Jesus doesn’t and didn’t look or sound like me, and the point of the Gospel is for me to look and sound more like him. Why do I fight seeing that? Comfort.
God save me from a comfortable faith.
While I long for face-to-face relationships, in the absence of their possibility in my context, the Internet is a bridge to share a table and build community with someone who isn’t the same as I am, but who loves the same God. The Internet offers a place to come and learn, listen, and be led by people who may not look or sound like me.
In the words of Michel Martin, look around and ask yourself, “Who isn’t at this table?” and then go find them. Some days I look at my Facebook or my blog reader, and I say, “Heaven is going to be a lot more colorful than this.” And then I know it’s time to seek out someone new.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Who is missing from the table in your life? Who is missing from the table that you may encounter thanks to the Internet?
PRAYER: Gracious God, grant that we would come to know a foretaste of worshiping along with one another in the many accents of a single voice declaring the wonder of Jesus Christ, to whom all praise is ever due. Amen.
Online community is a real thing. Isn’t it? Maybe it depends on whom you talk to. How important is it to spend time with someone face-to-face? Can you build meaningful and lasting relationships online? Where do you find your most significant interactions, and how do you make time for them? Jesus focused on building his deepest relationships with three of his disciples while he walked the earth. What can we learn about community from Christ’s example, and how do we translate his example to the digital age? In this theme, we are Rediscovering Community in old-fashioned and new-fangled ways. We’ll celebrate the gift of relationship while exploring ways to build community in the modern age. Join us!