10 Love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
I like my cell phone for two reasons. First, it gives me a way to stay in touch with my loved ones. Our calls aren’t billed at long distance rates, so we can call often. A quick text can remind someone that I’m thinking of them or they’re thinking of me. I can keep my phone with me all the time, in case someone needs to reach me. We can even exchange photos or videos. Staying in touch has become much easier!
But the second reason I like my phone is that it gives me something to do so I don’t have to communicate with others! A stranger sits beside me on an airplane? I can pull out my cell and look busy so I don’t have to chat. Waiting in a doctor’s reception area? I can avoid having a conversation with anyone by checking out my photos or Facebook account. I can avert my eyes and keep to myself very easily. My cell makes me appear to have some important things to do, when really I am just playing Sudoku.
I love my cell phone because I can communicate with loved ones. I love my cell phone because I don’t have to communicate with anyone else. I’m certain this irony is not lost on God.
“I was a stranger and you welcomed me…” (Matthew 25:35b). What if one of those strangers is a God-moment for me to accept (what if they ALL are)? What if God is providing an opportunity for a kind word, a listening ear, an understanding presence for that person-or even for me? Is my cell keeping me from answering God’s call to initiate a friendly conversation with someone? Is my self-important appearance keeping me from welcoming Jesus himself?
Today our Lenten focus is fellowship, but especially fellowship with those we don’t already know. Does your cell phone keep you from paying attention to the needs around you? Are you missing out on some precious opportunities to be God’s love for someone, or to receive God’s love from someone? Let’s be mindful of those times when we might set aside our cells, and turn our attention to those around us.
Our reminder symbol is a cell phone. May we be mindful of our opportunities to communicate God’s love for others- those we love, and those we have yet to know.
(Our prayer is based on the Romans 12 passage.)
You are always providing opportunities for me to share your love and to receive your love. Help me to…love others with mutual affection…honor others with respect and kindness…be ardent in spirit, not lagging in zeal about your love for us all…be patient in suffering even when a conversation is unpleasant…persevere in prayer for those around me…contribute to the needs of the saints by keeping in touch with dear ones…and most of all, extend hospitality to the strangers around me. Amen.