In-person worship services will be held as scheduled this Sunday. Please use discretion when determining whether roads are safe for your personal travel.
If you are unable to travel, consider joining worship online HERE at 7:30, 9, 11 or 5pm, on-demand at Resurrection’s YouTube channel, or on TV at KMCI 38 at 8am or 11am.
We are watching the weather and at this time the Car Show is still on as scheduled for the public, open from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. We will keep you updated as conditions change.
2 You know very well that the day of the Lord is going to come like a thief in the night.
4 But you aren’t in darkness, brothers and sisters, so the day won’t catch you by surprise like a thief. 5 All of you are children of light and children of the day. We don’t belong to night or darkness. 6 So then, let’s not sleep like the others, but let’s stay awake and stay sober. 7 People who sleep sleep at night, and people who get drunk get drunk at night. 8 Since we belong to the day, let’s stay sober, wearing faithfulness and love as a piece of armor [or breastplate] that protects our body and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 God didn’t intend for us to suffer his wrath but rather to possess salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 Jesus died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with him. 11 So continue encouraging each other and building each other up, just like you are doing already.
The apostle Paul called God-given faithfulness and love spiritual “armor” to guard his converts’ lives as children of light. Scholar William Barclay wrote, “This word (pistis) is…the characteristic of the [person] who is reliable.” * It meant we can choose to use all our energy, time, skills, money or other assets (including technology tools Paul couldn’t have begun to imagine) to bless others and build God’s kingdom.
Holy Spirit, be even more present with me than my phone or computer screen, shaping and guiding my activities (especially those that use tech) in ways that advance your kingdom. Amen.
I feel a bit weird writing this in the midst of a technology-themed sermon series, because honestly, my relationship with technology is a little different, and undoubtedly much more healthy, than many of the negative relationships we see now. I work in tech, making websites for pharmaceutical companies, and it was in the tech industry that I first became a published author. I met my wife online, at a time before internet dating was really a thing, and many of our mutual online friends attended our wedding.
My relationship with social media has never really been negative. I’ve made new friends I never would have otherwise known, and I’m able to keep up with friends I wouldn’t otherwise be able to. I’ve never felt less happy or confident after browsing social media.
All that said, while not negative, my relationship with social media, and the friends I collected there, wasn’t always meaningful. For the most part, politeness and peacemaking were my primary goals on social media—and because of that, I learned to stay away from a lot of topics that were vitally important, but that people felt strongly about. Occasionally, I would feel strongly enough on a topic to speak out about it, and I would garner several heated replies whenever I did.
After a while, I realized my primary concern with social media was my own feelings. I’m a mental health advocate, so self care is absolutely important, but so is self-actualization—being a part of something bigger than yourself and making a difference in the world. As the years progressed, I noticed that a lot of my friends that belonged to marginalized groups ran into the same problem that I did—divisive issues became impossible for them to talk about without attracting hate or discord. But there was one major difference: while I was talking about issues, these people were talking about their own personal experiences. One by one, I saw many of my friends being silenced because the status quo—what I had worked to protect with my politeness and peacemaking, was intentionally set up in a way to further marginalize these people, and to make the people doing the marginalizing feel better about it.
I found myself in an interesting place. Marginalized people are constantly asked to justify their own pain and experiences, and frankly, they’re exhausted by it. On the other hand, I, simply being who I am, was in a spot where others like me were much more open to hearing my opinion on how we could be better rather than others’ opinions on how they had been hurt. It’s a sad reality, but I found my place in social media gently influencing and guiding people to the truth rather than using the truth as a weapon or suppressing it to protect my feelings.
I still do get the occasional hurtful comment. Doing any sort of advocacy, you have to grow pretty thick skin. But it’s taught me a lot about how to deal with not only conflict, but also with deep-seated biases that others sometimes don’t even know they have. Additionally, marginalized friends, who feel increasingly alone in social spaces made to avoid talking about their lived experiences, are reminded that they’re not alone.
I don’t mean to say that I am the key to solving all of these problems, or even that I’m a very important part. Honestly, the best thing I do on social media is simply listen when others talk, and amplify voices that are saying important things. But my mission on social media changed when I realized it was a tool for influence rather than a fun way to waste a few hours. Social media can be a healthy thing if you approach it with purpose and moderation. Be mindful of the people in your social media circles who need their voices amplified—and those who are made to feel more marginalized by our silence.
* William Barclay, The Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1976, p. 51.