Thought for the Month (October 2015)

We live in a time when communication across the world can be made in a nanosecond; this is very fast indeed, in my language. There are more mobile phones than there are people in the world and you only have to walk a few yards down the street to see people with them seemingly glued to their ears.

The world of communication has advanced so much over such a short period of time, I sometimes wonder what my parents and grandparents would say because, just in my short lifetime, I have witnessed the development of many ways of communication. The computer, the mobile phone, iPad, tablet and other amazing gadgets have brought the world into our living rooms; through the wonder of the internet we can communicate with people across the world, even speak to each other face to face, or should I say "screen to screen"! We can tell our friends on Facebook, and some really do this, what we are having for breakfast, dinner and tea; not only tell them but take instant photographs of the same meal and send it with our message!

It could be argued that for we who are Christians, there has never been a better time for communicating the good news of Jesus Christ and yet with all the information available we know that the message is still not getting through. Sometimes I believe there is too much information, we get swamped with it and we end up not really taking in what we are seeing, hearing or reading, so much so that we switch off completely.

As the one who compiles the weekly church notices for Vale Royal Methodists and Tunbridge Wells URC, I know only too well how little people really take in what they are reading by the look of surprise on their faces when they discover the thing they have said they knew nothing of had actually been before their very eyes for several weeks in the notices.

We all know what is meant by a "one-to-one" or a "face-to-face" meeting, these conversations have far more impact and are far more memorable, than any of the mass distribution of information that fall through the letter box or appear in the inbox on our computer screens.

However, we do need to take advantage of our modern technology in the world of communication but this should run alongside the personal witness of our living with and in the love of Jesus Christ. We need to be aware of our Lord's voice in our lives, He speaks to us in so many different ways but when He does it is always in a very one-to-one and face-to-face way. And this surely, is the way we need to come alongside those for who perhaps the modern world of communication has become the be all and end all and yet nothing at all in their lives.

I am sure John Wesley, when he said that "All the world was his Parish", would have taken advantage of our technology but I am also sure he would not have stopped going out to meet and greet his parishioners face-to-face. It's so very easy to sit back and say "that we can communicate the message by just sitting at the keyboard" but as Christians I do not believe this is, or can be, how the Lord wants us to communicate His love and promise of eternal life to those who will listen.

In God's Love

Richard Cannam


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Tunbridge Wells United Reformed Church