connections

***

i feel weirdly naked without my phone. Saturday it decided to overheat and spew smoke, and for some reason that makes me wary of using it. Two days without it have demonstrated how addicted to that piece of technology i have become. Like most smartphone users, i use it for everything at this point: communication, including email, Facebook, texting, and the occasional phone call (i know, archaic, right?), but also directions, entertainment, and instant access to unlimited information. It is almost always in my hand for one reason or another, so the last few days i have caught myself reaching into my pocket and grasping nothing but fabric before i remembered it wasn’t there. Yesterday i had to (gasp) look up directions to where i was going at home before i left, and then remember them. I also had to wait until my wife got home to talk to her, which was an agonizing hour. This interdependence, i realize, is completely absurd. It wasn’t that long ago that i didn’t even have a smartphone, and was forced as the plebians to go to the laptop or my desktop at work to google an answer to an irrelevant question or to delete the twenty senseless emails a day that i receive.

It isn’t the phone itself that i miss, but rather the connectedness and the instant gratification that it provides. Checking my blog stats and comments, reading people’s reactions to my reactions to their Facebook posts, sending photos via text, etc. i get that it is ridiculous to be so habitual about the use of the phone, but really, it isn’t entirely my fault. Man was made to be connected, and technology has just made it easier to indulge this need. By being so involved, i am really only tapping into deep spiritual needs that have existed in me since birth.

Except that i am doing it the wrong way.

Yesterday’s sermon was a rather poignant reminder of this. While it had nothing to do with technology, it did ultimately have to do with connectedness. The essential point was not necessarily revolutionary, but it is something that is rather easily forgotten, or at the very least it’s weight does not land on us properly because we have taken it for granted. i was reminded yesterday that the nature of our relationship with God is not as creation and Creator, though it is that in part, and not even as subject to King, though it is also that, but the fundamental characteristic of our relationship is that we are adopted as His children. This is really a staggering claim, when i think about it. If i think of my standing with God as a spectrum which runs from negative infinity to infinity, it becomes more so. God has redeemed us, and given us grace for our sins, this is true. But this is not where the story ends. He has not stopped with taking us from negative infinity back to zero on the spectrum, but has instead continued carrying us all the way to positive infinity. We are not only justified, squared with Him, but He has taken us into His house and offered us everything He has. More than just being a neutral authority, like the government, with whom i can have either no standing or a negative one, he has actually become Our Father.

Indeed i may be built for connectedness, but i am to be primarily connected with Him first, as all other connections are made stronger and purer (and truthfully can only exist at all) through Him. i am called to something so much greater than merely being “right” with Him, although this is certainly an undeserved blessing in itself. But i am called to relationship. i am called into connectedness with Him. Perhaps a few days without my phone will be good for me. i can spend my time connecting with the One who is the source of all relationship, and stop substituting for that opportunity the meager chalk outlines of connection offered by the replacement therapy of social interaction.

***

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God  – 1 John 3 : 1

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