Small steps in faith

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Physical Power of Presence

I listened to a podcast today which really has a great message. His name is Shane Hipps and he is the pastor of a Mennonite church in Arizona. He spoke at Mars Hill in Grand Rapids which is Rob Bell's church.

The fact that Shane is from a Mennonite church intrigued me. A few years ago we went to Amish country in Ohio and met a really sweet waitress who was Mennonite. She was very open about sharing her faith and what the difference in Amish and Mennonites are.

His message dealt with the impact that the electronic age has on us and our spirituality. He ended the message with a story of when he was a chaplain in a hospital at UCLA . He would visit patients at their bedsides and help with any spiritual needs/requests they might have. He met a girl who was there for jaundice and a liver tumor who made it known to him that she wasn't religious and she had a pretty feisty personality.
He was in the room when they told her that the only thing they could do now was to make her comfortable. When the doctor walked out ...she looked at Shane as if to say's your chance..and he didn't know what to say. It was awkward and he ended up leaving the room so she could talk with her family. After staying up most of the night thinking of what he "should have said" he went back to apologize and her bed was empty.
He thought God was just giving him a learning lesson but she had just moved floors and she called his name . When he went in...She thanked him for being there to "take care of the spiritual stuff for her" He had just been there...his presence was what she needed. You can't do that on the phone or in an email...he humorously said he could send a blank sheet and sign his name. The point being so many times we use the electronic things to take the place of actual's not the same. Computers and cell phones and PDA's and Tv's aren't a bad thing...but you can't let them take the place of actually being a presence. Just as God sent his son to dwell among us,we need to have a physical presence in this world.
I have friends and family that live far from here so I know that email and phones are a blessing in that case but if I could I would much rather have a face to face physical conversation any day


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