The Values of “Being-There”
Like all of you we have been working from home, adjusting to a new way of doing things and wondering when things will go back to normal. (We are also praying! Praying for the leaders of China and Shanghai, praying for Wuhan, for those who are sick and for those who care for them) The SCF staff has met online and the SCF elders have met too. Our concern is to continue to serve and meet the needs of our community, a community that is either scattered across the globe or experiencing some sort of “self-quarantine”.
We have launched an online experience around teaching from the Bible (Sundays at 2pm and 4pm; shanghaicommunityfellowship.churchonline.org), we are offering a free subscription to Right Now Media which provides resources for just about any kind of Christian study you want to pursue; a weekly QQ list of worship songs and a way to receive prayer online. Several Community Groups have already started to meet online using ZOOM, (zoom.us) and we will soon be offering some of the workshops that were on the calendar but now via ZOOM instead of in a “room”!
With all of this activity and scrambling to “cover” all that we want to “cover”, I am asking, we are asking . . . Are there any gaps? Did we miss anything? Why does it feel like we are missing something?
Then it came to me; I am missing real, “in-person” contact with people in general and my friends. All of the digitally created community is good, I am grateful for it if for no other reason than it’s better than nothing! This experience has started me thinking about the value of “being there” which led me to something God did for us. The one big word that describes God’s “being there” for us is incarnation. When what we needed was his being with us God didn’t offer a ZOOM meeting or a WeChat text while he remained in heaven.
To quote theologian Scot McKnight; “The incarnation, God-becoming-body-and-flesh-and-blood, was about God’s sharing himself with humans so that humans could enjoy the presence of God and be in union with God. God loves into incarnational indwelling. Incarnation is about the indwelling.”
Jesus came to be with us so he could dwell in us. The ministry we offer to each other as Christ followers is the word of Christ in us – his love and our love offered to each other. But can love be communicated digitally? I hope so. We will soon find out!
Until we can meet again,