Scripture: 3 John 1-15
Key verses: (13-14) I have much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink; instead I hope to see you soon, and we will talk together face to face.
Reflection: I found some wise rules about emailing several years ago, somewhere on the web, here’s a few of them:
1) Read them before responding.
2) Don’t check them first thing at morning or last thing at night.
3) Remember that email is a public and permanent record.
4) Never criticize anyone in email and avoid technical debates. Use face-to-face meetings or phone calls instead.
5) Don’t send them.
Some of these rules are probably irrelevant with texting and tweeting, and to be honest most of these rules I have honored more in the breach than in their observance. But, there is some wisdom here. I tried in Advent to follow the 50/50 rule: don’t read emails 50 minutes after you get up and 50 minutes before bed. I failed. Or, maybe it was practice for a new year’s resolution?
The three letters of John are curious, tucked away, omitted from some Christian traditions (Syrian Orthodox) and often as forgotten as a Kleenex in your pocket on laundry day. But a gift awaits you today if you take some time and read through them (God is love and those who abide in love abide in God and God abides in them—I John 4). Though emailing was not on John’s radar, he understood the necessity to overcome screens and scrolls and put down the phone, papyrus or pen in order to be face to face.
It takes time to do that and you might have to adjust your time and schedule. You might be able to have only one conversation instead of sending a dozen emails and you may have to listen as much as speak (email is pretty one sided after all), but what gifts will you receive?
More than just good advice here, we have a reminder of what God has done in Jesus Christ. Born for us and with us so that we might see and know God.
Prayer: Blessed are you, O Christ child,
that your cradle was so low
that shepherds, poorest and simplest of earthly people,
could yet kneel beside you,
and look, level-eyed, into the face of God. Amen.
Author: Derek Macleod
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].