This year is what could have been my 20th-year high school class reunion. Doesn’t look like we’re going to bother doing anything formal, though. My wife’s was last year, and they didn’t really do much either. According to Facebook pictures I noticed, it looks like hardly anyone showed up. Just looking through the few pictures of the event, I could almost pretend I was there. And the idea that I could even do such a thing tells me that Facebook is well on its way to killing the high school reunion.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, what little chit-chat that would have occurred at the reunion wouldn’t tell me much more about anyone, would it? I mean, I already know where you’re employed. I know whether you’re married or not. I’ve watched your kids grow up through pictures. I know what you cooked last night, what you did to modify that recipe you found on the internet, and if I’m really lucky I saw a picture of how it turned out. I know what crafts you plan to make this year… unless of course you just pin things on Pinterest and never do anything with them. I know how badly you need a drink when you get home tonight, not that I’m monitoring you while I’m at work myself or anything. I know the latest achievements you made on Candy Crush, or whatever other ten Facebook games you’ve been playing. What’s left to find out at a reunion?
Though, come to think of it, isn’t that random list really just a superficial understanding of my "friends?" Is that what we’ve become as a culture? We can tap into each other’s lives 24/7 through the internet, but do we really know anything at all about each other? Do you really reveal yourself on Facebook, or do you hide your worries, fears, heartaches… or even your greatest joys behind your pictures and status updates? Or, do you overplay things looking for that instant gratification of seeing 50+ "likes" on your random status update, while that "person" we see is not at all who you are below the surface? It seems to me, none of us can possibly know each other this way. Well… unless it’s just me, hiding behind the few photos I’ve bothered to upload. Would you have been surprised to see me roll into our class reunion in my wheelchair, for example? Facebook is a completely superficial way of having "friends," wouldn’t you say?
But, honestly, I realized something else when I got to thinking about my reunion and how Facebook has taken it hostage. This is the same thing that I’ve been doing with God. I’ve had this Facebook-like, superficial relationship with Him for years. When I’m in prayer, I simply give Him a two-liner "status update." Maybe it’s a quick thanks for something that happened and I’m off to sleep. Maybe it’s just a quick request for something I want to go well the next day. There’s no depth to the discussion, and it’s all one-way. Rather than study His Word, I catch a few cute pictures on Facebook with Bible verses that day and figure that’s good enough for my "daily bread." I’m a busy guy, after all. When Sunday morning arrives, I catch a service from an online church and think, "Yeh… that’s enough worship of God for one week." If I attend church, I hear a superficial sermon and sing superficial "Jesus is my boyfriend" songs, and I call that good enough. Really? Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, died for me a couple millenia ago, and that’s the relationship I have with Him? He set me free from the debt I owed God for my sinful life, and this is how things are between us? How superficial.
This is the culture we live in, not only with our "friends" in this life, but with our Creator as well, isn’t it? How far we’ve drifted from David.
4 One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.
Psalm 27:4 (ESV)
David, the man after God’s own heart, prayed to be content to simply gaze upon the Lord. That’s the kind of relationship I need with Him… the kind of relationship where I am content simply being in awe of God. Or, perhaps I need the kind of relationship where I won’t feel like a fool in uninhibited worship of my Lord, as David was another time.
16 As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, and she despised him in her heart. 20 And David returned to bless his household. But Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, “How the king of Israel honored himself today, uncovering himself today before the eyes of his servants’ female servants, as one of the vulgar fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!” 21 And David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father and above all his house, to appoint me as prince over Israel, the people of the Lord—and I will celebrate before the Lord.
2 Samuel 6:16, 20–21 (ESV)
Or, perhaps I need the kind of relationship where I find no greater pleasure than studying and meditating on His Word, as we find throughout the Psalms.
11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
16 I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.
81 My soul longs for your salvation; I hope in your word.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Psalm 119:11, 16, 81, 103 (ESV)
Perhaps I need to take the plunge into a more mature relationship with and understanding of who my God is.
12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. 1 Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
Hebrews 5:12–6:1 (ESV)
After all, Jesus Christ informs us that’s what eternal life is all about.
3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
John 17:3 (ESV)
What better use is there of this brief life I have on earth than to get a head start on knowing God? I guess maybe Solomon, wisest man on earth, said it pretty well.
1 Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”; 2 before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain, 3 in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those who look through the windows are dimmed, 4 and the doors on the street are shut—when the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low— 5 they are afraid also of what is high, and terrors are in the way; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along, and desire fails, because man is going to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets— 6 before the silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, 7 and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. 13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
Ecclesiastes 12:1-7, 13 (ESV)
Perhaps I should also spend a bit of time again getting to know my "friends" here on earth, for that matter. Even though we won’t have a formal reunion, I look forward to getting back to my home town during our town’s annual celebration to see who’s around from my class. I would like to honestly catch up with some old friends, not just continue to have some superficial understanding of who they’ve become over the past 20 years. Maybe none of them will show up anyway, or maybe we’ll still have superficial conversations, but I think it’s still worth going on the off-chance things are different. As for my relationship with God, perhaps it’s not too late for that, either.
By the way, if you actually read this far, did you really expect me not to turn a diatribe on Facebook relationships into a spiritual thing? If that one caught you off-guard, I guess I made my point. We sure do have a superficial understanding of each other, don’t we? Sit down with me some time and let me tell you about my Lord and Savior. ;)
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