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Dear Disciples of the Messiah,

IMAGINE HOW MANY MORE MIRACLES JESUS COULD HAVE DONE if he had not been distracted by His cell phone?  You probably appreciate your phone as much as I do mine…but my New Year’s resolution is to put my phone away when I am in conversation with others in person. 

HAVE YOU EVER SAT DOWN WITH FAMILY OR FRIENDS and put your cell phone on the table or held it in your hand?  What is the non-verbal communication to the person/people we are with when we do that?  It is a clear, LOUD non-verbal

“YOU ARE NOT THAT IMPORTANT TO ME!  If a ding or vibration comes from my phone, I will immediately go to who or what I actually care about.”  Is that what we want to communicate to the ones we are with?  Is that how we wish to be treated by others?  Is that the behavior of a disciple?

family game time without phones
A family enjoys games with one another. Image: Lightstock

IS THIS A PET-PEEVE OF A CRANKY AGING PASTOR?  Perhaps…but I believe that our culture’s deepening inability to relate with each other ‘in person’ is hurting us.  It is not only rude, it may contribute to our epidemic of depression.  Have we reached the point when classes need to be offered to teach us how to talk to each other in person?  If we lose our ability to talk with each other in person we naturally turn inward.  That is contrary to our calling to be ‘God’s People, Reaching Out’.  Bigger picture…

FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE COMMUNICATED IN PERSONGod could do whatever God chose to do.  Jesus arrived in the flesh to give us God’s most important messages in powerful, down-to-earth ways.  God chose to show up in person.  That’s what Christmas is all about.  God chose to show up for you, because God loves you.

“The bread and wine, the body and blood of our Lord cannot be received electronically.” Image: Lightstock

GOD’S GREATEST ETERNAL GIFTS ARE GIVEN THROUGH THE CHURCH!  Have you ever thought about that?  These days that sounds both shocking and archaic, but that is what God still does.  Baptism cannot be done on-line.  The bread and wine, the body and blood of our Lord cannot be received electronically.  Scripture readings and Biblical preaching are best in person.  One of the ways God’s saving grace is delivered is through ‘the mutual conversation and consolation of the saints’.  This is not done on TV.  It happens in person every Sunday morning, and other days of the week too.

“YOU ARE NOT THAT IMPORTANT TO ME!”  Our Lord NEVER says that to us.  How important are you to God?  “God so loved the world (including YOU and the person you are talking to) that He gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

See you soon in church, I hope,

Pastor Scott Peterson

This blog post originally appeared in the January 2019 “Messiah Messenger,” the monthly newsletter of Messiah Lutheran Church.