Modern Day Holiness

Come apart so you don’t come apart. ~ Common Sense

Then Jesus went into a house to get away from the crowd… (Mark 7:17)

After saying these things, Jesus went away and was hidden from them. (John 12:36)

When Jesus saw that they were ready to force him to be their king, he slipped away into the hills by himself. (John 6:15)

Goldfish by chiharu nagatomi is licensed under CC-CC0 1.0

We want to go with the flow.

We want to be in the know.

We want to be present not absent.

We want to be where the action is happening.

The next ping on your phone might be a signal that something big is going down and you can’t miss it.

Or can you?

Is there ever a point in your day when your ears are not filled by pings and dings? Or when your eyes are not enticed by a flashing box on your screen?

Just the thought of being away from our screens for any length of time causes some of us to feel anxious and fearful. A part of us is missing.

A clue that we are no longer controlling our devices but that they are controlling us are the tech leaders, the ones who invented the software and hardware that govern our behavior, who won’t allow their own children to have tablets and phones.

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I heard someone say recently, “I do not know if I get texts because my phone is not glued to my hip.”

A heretic of the digital age? Or, a holy sage of the digital age? I wonder.

Why do we feel the need to apologize for not having our phone or tablet with us at all times including the bed and shower?

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To be holy is to be set apart for sacred use.

Fanatical Christians love to talk about Jesus coming back. At times, Jesus was more interested it getting away from us than coming to us. Set apart. Holy.

Modern day holiness is about separating ourselves from the things that come between us and God and between us and the people we love.

Face to face rather than screen to face.

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It may well be that the holiest act we can do today is to put the phone, tablet and screens away so we can be with God and those we love.

Being Here

You love your phone. 

You hate your phone. 

I love and hate your phone too.

You love that you can call me anytime of the day and reach me wherever I am. I love that too. 

You hate that I can call you anytime of the day and reach you wherever you are. You love it too.

Our conversations sometimes start with, “Where are you?” 

I am here. 

Where are you?

We relate to a table scene author Rob Bell describes in his book, How to Be Here, “…if that phone rings and that screen lights up, she will be with you, but not be with you. Here but not here.”

We know we are important to the people sitting across the table from us when our phones are in hiding. They have their time and place, but this is not it.

Remember the days when phones, tablets and screens were not a part of our everyday existence?

The irony is not lost on me that I am writing this post on a computer that is a marvel of modern engineering. I’ll send it off on the information superhighway. It’s wonderful! 

We love technology. We hate it too. We struggle to find a balance between digital and analog.

We don’t want to lose sight of the joy of looking across the table or the sofa at a living person, created in God’s image, with nothing distracting us from each other. Attention is a gift we give to those that matter.

There is something special about picking up a pen to write on a real piece of paper rather than pixelated paper on a hard glass screen. 

There is old school magic in picking up an actual book, holding it in your hands and reading complete lines of sentences rather than pinballing across a screen at random. 

You are here. Present.

And we see you.

We love it when you are here.

Happy Father’s Day, Mom

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Dear Mom,

Father’s Day is upon us. I am reminded again of how you stood in for my absent dad. This time of year, I see “World’s Best Dad” mugs and t-shirts. I see “My dad is a hero” on social media posts and merchandise. I think, “my dad is a zero.” Zero involvement. Zero contact. Zero courage. He came in and out of our lives like the wind. 

His choice to be out of our lives is not a reflection of my value as a person.

I know this is true because you stepped up when he stepped out. You drove me to sports practices after a long day of work in a car that had seen better days. You shopped for groceries and had dinner on the table for my brother and me. Then cleaned up and helped us with homework. You made sure we had what we needed when we needed it. When he left the final time, you took an extra job so I could stay in college. We would not be the sons we are today, without you. We are the sons we are today because of you. 

So Happy Father’s Day, Mom.

And to all the single moms reading this who are wondering if what you are doing matters, I can say that it mattered to me when my mom did it. I didn’t realize how much it meant to me at the time, and your kids probably don’t either…yet. But they will. 

I know you get tired. I know you get anxious. You may wish your kids had a greeting card dad, but they don’t. 

Author Donald Miller says it is time to rewrite the story of fatherlessness in America. But that won’t happen without your strength, courage, and perseverance.

You do your best and give your all to make up the difference daily. And sometimes you feel as if no one is watching. But your kids see you. Your friends see you. Your co-workers see you. God sees you. 

You do twice as much to care for your kids, so I think you deserve another day in your honor. 

So, Happy Father’s Day, Mom. 

You are making a difference. 

With love,

Your grateful child