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. 3 John 13–14
These two short letters end with nearly the identical wording and sentiment: there is much more to say, but what needs to be said is best done face to face. While this is not the thrust of the message of these two letters, it still seems to be a very important message to embrace.
We live in a world where people can communicate with one another in near anonymity. Technology allows us to have conversations in countless ways without ever having to stand directly in front of another person. We have been told that we can create virtual relationships and communities. That may be true, but the Holy Spirit of God is best communicated when people physically come together. The Internet, email, text messaging, and other social media can be easily abused and misinterpreted. As people of faith, we might be well served to keep our technologically facilitated communications brief, trusting that relationships and communities are at their best when people choose to speak face to face and stand hand in hand.
How do you choose to communicate with others?
Lord, it is so much easier to communicate with people while standing at a distance. Distance and anonymity allow us to share words that we would not dare to speak if we had to stand face to face with certain people. It is so easy to send off a heated email or a hurtful text or a hateful tweet. In fact, it is too easy. You do not call us to easy interactions but rather to deep sharing that can only happen when we are in close proximity to others. Help me to possess the restraint and the resolve to limit my communication to that which can be done face to face. In Jesus’ name, I pray. AMEN.