3 John 1:14
I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.
The desire to be together has drastically changed in the American church. Primarily due to comfort and convenience and secondly the lack of persecution. We have more today than our brothers and sisters of centuries gone by and I would argue we are less thankful, less relational and less content with the abundance of blessings. The joyful expectation of seeing, meeting and greeting one another with a holy kiss is quickly fading. The time of enjoying each others company with encouraging smiles, words and fruitful fellowship is routinely being forsaken.
You cannot replace the beautiful expression of a personal letter. Taking time, sitting down and putting pin to paper and thoughtfully expressing oneself. The Apostle John ends his letter expressing hope to be with the beloved Gaius and people of God. He wanted to communicate person to person. Electronic letters known as emails have practically made actual letter writing obsolete. The advancement of technology has brought us face to face on screens and monitors but no closer in person. In fact real time interactions has decreased and screen time has dramatically increased according to studies. Face time vs. screen time: The technological impact on communication by Chandra Johnson Aug 29, 2014.
Advanced technology brings us in the same room without enjoying the reality of human contact, meaningful social interaction, personal touch, hugs and kisses or actually being face to face.
Thanks to technology you can communicate and connect quickly with many people. But you can also disconnect from many people as well. Many of whom desperately need regular habitual one-on-one interaction. One of the great blessings of communication has also become the cause of great disobedience. The church gathers to meet with one another to mutually edify and encourage each other. To neglect to do so is to disobey God’s command. The household of faith desires to be with God and his people in faithful heart to heart loving fellowship.
We are commanded to meet, we have covenanted to meet and we cannot continue to remain apart from one another in the name of safety. We cannot replace the command of regular face to face encouraging encounters with distant digital experiences.
We must not forsake the blessing of the intended grace through the means of the gathered church. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,
1 Corinthians 12:21
Christians are a body of believers dependent on other parts for survival. We are dependent parts of a whole that provide what is necessary as every joint supplies. We need each other and long to be together.
May we crave the company of the church looking forward to being face to face as John did the beloved Gaius.
Thus may we abide in union
with each other and the Lord,
and possess in sweet communion
joys which earth cannot afford.
Pastor Mark Hamilton
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