Pastor Thom's Message Blog

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Pastor Thom Bryant

Connecting - January 2020



That's right, the year is 2020! Even though it has arrived, it still seems like such a futuristic date. I don't know how many sci-fi movies and shows I watched growing up that were set in or around this year. There are so many different imaginings of our society in this time, ranging from having flying cars and self-tailoring clothing to post-apocalyptic landscapes with tribes battling over disappearing resources. I am so grateful for the ways we have missed many of those "futures". I'm also very grateful for the ways that we have met or even surpassed them.

We really do live in the greatest age of human history! We have access to almost the entirety of human knowledge within a few short taps of our fingertips against a piece of glass. Glass that somehow remarkably doesn't break while we carry and fumble with it all day long every day. We can pick out groceries, clothing, furniture, vehicles, and even pets from that same glass and have them physically delivered to our doorstep easily within 48 hours. Almost anyone, anywhere can get from where they are currently to ANY other point on the ENTIRE globe within 72 hours by using existing and fairly common transportation options. We can have real-time video conversations with people all over the world inexpensively and almost seamlessly.

Then why do so many of us feel so alone? Why do we spend so much time arguing and dividing ourselves from one another? Why are we more likely to look at a piece of glass in our hands than the eyes of the person we are physically standing next to? How is it that we find ourselves moving through our days feeling more like we are surrounded by strangers than by family? We eagerly wait for that next new app or generation of tech to revolutionize the way we communicate or travel even more easily, but will it?

No. It won't. It won't because that's not the kind of new that we are looking for, or ever have been. The new we are all looking for is already available. We are looking for that new way of purpose. That way where our lives matter in someone else's. It's why we post selfies, share memes, click those reaction buttons, comment on posts, or make those videos. None of those are bad or wrong things, but they can distract us from the new and real differences we can make with those physically around us.

We send thoughts, prayers, and resources for something that takes place thousands of miles away but miss that our neighbor across the street is facing a major health decision. We answer that email within a few minutes of receiving it but can't describe the person who bagged our groceries while we were doing so. We miss the opportunities to connect with each other because we are so busy trying to stay connected to each other.

Want to try the next and best new thing this year? The latest time-saving and most efficient way to matter in someone else's life? The new way that God is calling you to make the difference only you can?

That is exactly what this year of 2020 is about here at VMUMC. It is not an over-imagined picture of a sleek and simple world free of struggle or conflict. It is also not a gritty and depressive look at how to survive the days ahead. It is one of a joyful community of complex individuals learning and discerning how to use our very real gifts to meet very real needs in very real lives.

That might sound like a far off and futuristic sci-fi vision to a lot of people. So did self-driving electric cars and video calls. You can now participate in both simultaneously while listening to a radio station being beamed directly from a satellite in space. Nothing is impossible with the right people in the right place at the right time. I've learned very quickly that we already have all of that... I also know the MOST important thing to make it all reality: That the best of it is... God is with us! Amen?