I remember living in a foreign country when I was very young. My brother and I couldn’t understand the people on the television, so we spent our time “shooting marbles” and reading/trading comic books. Looking back, I’m certain some pretty valuable comic books by today’s standard’s passed through our hands.
As I grew, reading the comics in the Sunday paper became a pastime. The majority of the characters I followed every week have and will remain part of a fantasy world, such as Superman, Batman, and Charlie Brown. But there is one comic strip whose main character had some pretty futuristic ways to communicate – Dick Tracy. Now before you begin to scoff, start looking on people’s wrists to see if they are wearing one of the new iPhone watches! The only thing they will not do (yet!) is to perform video calls. Other than that, they have more stuff than Dick Tracy’s wrist communicator! The future is upon us!
There are both advantages and disadvantages to the new high-tech forms of communications. We can make video calls on our phones and even video conference with several people on our living room TVs. Days of writing letters to family and friends has all but disappeared, and have been replaced with instant messaging, text messaging, snap chat, and even audio text messaging. Are we loosing the art of not only letter writing, but also face-to-face human interaction?
My 20-something nephew expressed his concern with this phenomenon, as he was having a hard time making new friends socially in his new town. Out of his wise mouth came the answer: his generation’s comfort zone is interacting socially using electronic media, and direct contact skills have diminished!
Have we done the same with our worship? We post our services on websites and stream them live on social media platforms. This is a huge advantage for those who cannot attend for whatever reason, or while we are traveling. But have some replaced going to church with watching church?
There are places outside of church where we can have individual and powerful experiences with God. God is everywhere, right? So why should we gather together in worship?
In Hebrews we find “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing.” There is a purpose in “corporate” worship.
When we gather, we can look into the eyes of another person as we talk with them. We can see joy, pain, sorrow, gladness and a host of other emotions. How much better is a soft handshake than a smiley-face emoji? One may need to be blessed, while another is encouraged to be used by the Holy Spirit and bless others. It is through this gathering we use our Spiritual gifts to bind ourselves together and become the full body of Christ!
Social media is good for keeping up, but let’s not replace our worshipping together with it! Call your friends and tell them “see you Sunday!”