8th June 2020

Through a Screen Brightly!

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
1 Corinthians 13:12 (KJV)

In the midst of lockdown, I wonder if, like me, you find a lot of electronic communications a bit exhausting at times? It’s great to be able to communicate through glowing computer screens and mobile phones, but don’t you think it seems to drain us more than ordinary face-to-face communication? Perhaps because it overworks two of our senses (seeing and hearing) while leaving smell and touch…well, untouched! Actually, I suppose the jury’s out as regards the sense of taste, because I’ve shared lockdown fish ’n’ chips and apple pie dinner parties by Skype!

Our little GCI Luton congregation has met online and by phone every week since lockdown began. There have been technical hitches and glitches, but everyone has been very patient. Sometimes a SkypeOut call (Skype computer-to-phone) is intercepted by someone’s answerphone and we all have to listen to the recorded voice saying, “Your call cannot be taken at present. Please leave a message after the beep”! We’ve taken to all leaving a cheery message in chorus, for the person to pick up later! Sometimes people forget to mute their microphones. Those participating by telephone cannot be muted, so they have to be particularly aware of any background noise! I can just imagine the apostle Paul in a Skype session with the Corinthians, saying, ‘I do not permit those on SkypeOut audio to speak during the message. They can ask for the recording afterwards if they have a bad line’ (1 Corinthians 14:34–35, my paraphrase).

Have you ever noticed the number of “stage directions” included in Luke’s account of Jesus giving the reading in the synagogue? Luke 4:14–21 (NIV) tells us “…he stood up to read…the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found where it was written…” It had never struck me until this week; Jesus had to grapple with the technology of his day, too: a heavy, unwieldy piece of kit, to be sure! But he surprised his listeners by ending the reading sooner than expected: “Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down.”

Notice what happened next: “The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him,” and he said to them, “today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:20-21). You see, it’s really not about the technology or any surprise deviations from the expected format of the service. Whether meeting online or in person, let’s fasten our eyes on Jesus, because it’s only when we look to him that the veil separating us can be taken away! “Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” 2 Corinthians 3:15–17 (NIV).

Jesus, it’ll be great to see you face to face one day! Meanwhile, help us to embrace the freedom you give us, by fastening our eyes on you! And please comfort us while we look forward to the freedom of resuming real hugs and real handshakes with our brethren!

Study by Shirley McLean

About the Author:
Shirley McLean attends Grace Communion International in Luton. Shirley runs a monthly choir workshop, which is also a social occasion where all are welcome–see www.kingsfold.org

Local Congregation:
Gracecom Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
Farley Hill

Meeting time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Shirley McLean
Phone: 01442-780783
Email: luton@gracecom.church

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One Response to “8th June 2020”

  1. John Armstrong on June 8th, 2020 11:17 am

    Good morning Shirley,
    Re your Day by Day article “Through a Screen Brightly” published 08/06/20.
    Thankyou for the article the third paragraph of which (beginnining “Have you ever noticed……..”) reminded me that since Jesus is the Word of God,Logos, and sharper than any two edged sword ….. He must be the ultimate word/data reader, and therefore it would be relatively easy for Him to “Scroll down” through the scroll/ book of Isaiah to “The Spirit of The Lord GOD is upon me….”

    Taking this a bit further, there is reason to believe that DNA is the ultimate form of data storage and all our actions are stored on our DNA, thus when Our Lord and Saviour got into conversation with the woman of Samaria at the well (John ch 4) He could read her history as an open book (Ps139)–awesome.
    Thanks again for the article,

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