Rev. Eric Brown
"For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus." - Philippians 1:8
Hi. We've probably never met in person. Maybe we've bumped across each other in social media or somewhere else on the Internet before -- and you're reading what I've written now -- which really is sort of cool from my perspective. Still, chances are we don't really know each other. And yet, we're able to share thoughts, ideas, talk about sin and forgiveness and all the things that Christ Jesus has done for us.
Technology, it's a wonderful thing. It can make us seem closer than ever before. I moved recently from Oklahoma to Illinois, but I still chat with a lot of my Oklahoma friends everyday; Thomas Lemke and I can still do a podcast (Gospeled Boldly, here at Higher Things, you should listen) even though we are almost 1000 miles apart. And over Skype, I've seen his son, my godson. He was born after I moved but I still get to see him.
The Church has always used technology: Paul's epistles were high tech back in the day. His epistles (just the Greek way of saying "letters") were the best way he had to communicate. Even as he is stuck in prison in Rome, Paul was able to proclaim the love of Christ Jesus to folks all over the place.
Yet, even though there was that distant communication that Paul and the Philippians cherished, have you ever noted how the Paul's epistles tend to end? Here's the end of Philippians (4:21-23): "Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar's household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit." Even while he's wrapped up in the technology of the day, Paul isn't alone. The Philippians aren't alone. Rather, they are in community.
One of the fantastic truths of the Christian faith is that Christ Jesus came in the flesh, in a body. Jesus is a real human being. Jesus didn't chose to just beam feel-good-spirit-waves at us; when He came to save us He came down from heaven to be with us. Up close. He saw Peter face to face. He ate with James. He laughed with John.
Indeed, even as great as technology is, as great (or lousy) as blog posts and podcasts are, as wonderful Epistles are, Christ still comes to you in a physical, tangible way in the service -- in His Supper. He comes to you bodily. And here's the neat thing: He comes to you (plural), to your church, your congregation. Paul greets the saints in Philippi with the brothers who are with him. Our physical Lord Jesus places us in physical congregations, and calls and gathers us together with other people.
I'm glad you're reading this post, even though I've probably never met you in person. But there's something even better. Jesus comes to you in His Supper, and not just you by yourself, but you in a congregation, with other, real people. Enjoy His gifts along with those fellow saints. You get to eat the Supper with them. You get to sing with them. You get to say hi to them face to face. Enjoy the community that God has called you into.
Eric Brown is pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church, Herscher, Illinois.
Created: November 6th, 2015