Sunday, November 20, 2016

God's iPad

I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. -- John 14:16-17 NLT

It's been some time since I last publicly splashed in the ponder.  A lot of life has happened since my cancer diagnosis and treatment. I survived (obviously), and survived beautifully.  God worked gloriously in my illness, even allowing me to not need my final chemotherapy treatment!  The only lingering side effect of my treatment is numbness and occasional razor-sharp pains in my toes.  Other than that, I feel great, my blood work is well within acceptable ranges, and the doctors are very pleased with my progress.  

And, I have decided to begin blogging again, picking up where "Mary from the Prairie" left off. Topical blogging.  Pick a prompt, and see how God shows up.

It is not always easy to sit before a blank screen with fingertips on the keyboard, and have something profound appear.  So I asked my friend Great Scott to help out.  

"Tell me, Great Scott, what is the first item to your right?"
"My laptop computer."
"Okay. That will be my topic.  Laptop computer."
"I can't wait to see the content."
"Neither can I!"

I have been thinking of what my Christmas gift to myself will be this year.  After pondering between things for my apartment, a vacation getaway, season tickets to the theatre, and the like, I am leaning toward an iPad or something similar. Why? I enjoy the portability of projects I am working on. Emails and related documents and spreadsheets, sharing on social media, and the like will not require me to be tied down to a desk. There is nothing wrong with my aging laptop. Considering it also doubles as my desktop, the lappy is still a very valuable tool.  I will not abandon lappy.  Not yet. But adding the dimension of convenience with an iPad (or something similar) would make it nice to not have to carry my big ol' heavy(ish) and big(ish) laptop computer when I want to work on something away from home.  

If my laptop computer is my home base for extracurricular emails, documents, spreadsheets, and social media, then (work with me in the pondering, guys) we could see the local church as our home base for spiritual task-handling.  It is our center for worship, Biblical teaching, prayer support, outreach to the needy in the community.  There is great value in having a home base for these things, and congregations should not abandon the home church. It's what churches do, and do very well.

But here's a lightbulb over the head ... You don't have to be at church to do the things you do at church! You don't have to take the chapel and its rows of pews and lecterns and altar and all, and pull it behind your blue chevy. That is because as Christians we have received the Helper promised by Jesus. We have the Holy Spirit, to enable us to carry out in obedience what Jesus taught his followers while he was on earth. 

We can raise our voices and hands in worship outside of church.  We are not confined to a sanctuary to lift requests and praise and confession and thanksgiving to our Creator. Bibles can be opened at home, in the waiting room, on the bus. Helping needy can be face-to-face, taking the time to hear someone's story, which is much more powerful than tossing a few bucks in the plate for the special offering. 

My analogy of our Christian walk going from laptop computer to iPad is not a perfect one.  But during my illness I experienced first-hand people using their "spiritual iPads" to help me. ME!  

I experienced strangers stopping to pray for me, on the street, while I was waiting for my ride.
I experienced people stepping forward to meet my needs, by bringing meals, walking me to my car, calling to remind me to drink water.
I experienced people worshipping God, praising Him with every small victory I had.
I experienced people taking the time to help me feel dignified, even somewhat normal, by taking me out to a meal or a movie.

I experienced the dimension of others utilizing God's iPad, when they could have opted to stay with the laptop. 

Whether I actually do decide my gift to myself will be an iPad or something else remains to be seen. In the mean time I want to be directed by the Holy Spirit to be God's iPad to the others I encounter. 

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