This week, we welcome back Sally Grantham from partner ACS Technologies to the Vanco blog. Sally looks back on the Easter season and some uses for technology she saw that churches can apply all year.
After the celebration of Easter, many of us return to the habits we gave up for the 40 days of Lent: Facebook, caffeine or sweets. However, some of us have created a new habit or pattern that we’ll continue.
That thought causes me to reflect back on this season and a few technology trends and applications I saw that apply to the church not just during Lent, but throughout the year.
First of all, the church I attend, like many do, offered a daily Lenten Bible reading. Now, I’ve done previous readings where the church sent me a little booklet. The twist this year was that the Lenten readings came via text message.
Each morning (I appreciated that they moved the “ding” of the text a little bit later after the first week), I received a text link that took me to a writing, and a link to read a section of scripture. I really enjoyed this new start to my day. Instead of looking at the weather, reading work reports or scrolling through the news while lying in bed or drying my hair, I started with a biblical reflection, thanks to modern technology.
The second trend also involved readings for Lent. One of the many mailing lists I’m on is for my childhood church, which is several states away. During this year’s Easter season, my old church emailed a daily Lenten Bible reflection. It was nice to stop, exhale and review this among my many other emails, though I read it pretty quickly sometimes, based on the pace of my day. However, this writing struck me:
THOUGHT FOR TODAY
Take a moment to be in the moment.
It's Thursday, four days since the Daylight Saving Time change. Can you hear people grumbling? Every fall and spring! The entire Israelite congregation grumbled about hunger in the wilderness, even after Moses led them out of Egypt. God heard their cries and provided food (manna) from heaven, but directed them to gather only one day's portion. It was a test to see if they would follow His instructions. They failed. The manna rotted after one day. (Exodus 16:1-21)
Think about time. It's fascinating. God created an invisible structure, days and nights, within which we live on earth. And, my, how we grumble! "There's not enough hours in the day. It's too long to wait. Back then, times were different. How much do I need for the future?" God directs us to live in the present — one day, right now. It's when we're closest to Him. Scripture says: "Don't worry about tomorrow. It will have worries of its own." "Give us this day our daily bread." And, "Do all things without grumbling." Someday, the constraints of time will be lifted from us, for eternity. May we live like we believe it!
— Jan Payne
Here I received a digital email that reminded me that in the hustle and bustle of life, reviewing emails, HipChat messages, Slack notifications, texts and a slew of other interactions, we need to take a moment to be in the moment.
What made it connect even further was when I noticed the author: my own mother. I was reminded how in childhood she would read me a Bible story every morning at the breakfast table. In this day and age, she was still sending me a Bible story – but now, it was served up digitally.
Technology delivered more than one message to me that day. We no longer just have to read a story from a booklet or place money in the collection plate as it is passed. It’s OK and good to include technology as an option to reach people where they are. We all learn lessons during Lent: In addition to spiritual ones, let’s remember to use every possible avenue to communicate and connect with people to help them grow and give.