Chances are, you are reading this on a computer – or perhaps a smaller electronic device of some kinds. Chances are not good you are reading it on paper. And it is nearly impossible that you are receiving this message verbally, in person.
You might possibly remember the long-distance telephone ad slogan: “The Next Best Thing to Being There.” That slogan was understandable, given the product. But that slogan was followed by another: “Reach Out and Touch Someone.” Catchy, thoughtful, but deceitful – you can’t touch anyone by telephone. The only way to do it is in person!
I believe that these slogans were prophetic! Think about it. Now, 40 years later, we have multiplied the number of communication mediums. For businesses – and, for churches – the pressure is on! We all need to ensure that information regarding our “services” are available in a wide array of readily and easily accessible formats. For churches, there’s even more: simulcasts, podcasts, sermons in audio and video, and more.
INCARNATION. Literally translated, this greek word means “in the flesh,” “enfleshed” or, more to the point, “embodied.” In Christian terms, the Incarnation refers to the most profound miracle in history: Jesus Christ is truly God and truly human. That’s a miracle that’s usually taken for granted – after all, we gather to worship Jesus. But as I’ve been preaching on the subject since Christmas, it’s a miracle that means much – because it communicates Who Jesus Christ is, for us, Today. To put it most simply, the Incarnation happened because God wants a relationship. He wants us to know him. The Incarnation is the invitation to fulfill the first half of the Great Commandment: Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
But it’s also the guide to fulfilling the second half: loving your neighbor as yourself. Getting a text is nice, getting an email is ok, getting a phone call is good, and getting a card in the mail is sweet and getting a package a blessing. But getting a visit in person beats them all!
Jesus Christ is an authoritative teacher: by contemplating his teachings we can become wise. Jesus is a great prophet: by considering his courageous acts we can be inspired. Jesus is a magnetic leader: by studying his actions we will submit to his will.
But all these things are possible because of his presence. If we ponder his presence with people, we will know how to love our neighbor. Jesus loved people by looking at and listening to people, eating and drinking with people, and touching and talking to people, by meeting their needs and by preaching the gospel. This all happened through his presence.
As the spiritual body of Christ, our Mission as Pilgrim Covenant Church is to be a faith-full, peace-bringing embodied presence to our neighbors, because it’s the real way to “reach out and touch someone” and being there is the best thing!
Your Partner in the Gospel,
Seeking Jesus, Serving Others