Social Media Resurrection
I was thinking...
On this Easter Monday, I was wondering what it would be like if the Disciples in the day of Jesus would have had social media? What would they post? What would they not post? Who would they ‘friend’ and who might they ‘unfriend’? What would they ‘tweet’ or ‘retweet’? What photos would appear on Instagram? What moments would they share with family and friends on Snapchat?
Those first century disciples certainly struggled with the human condition. They denied, they betrayed, they argued about who was the greatest, they took what wasn’t theirs to take, and were cliquish. Certainly, they weren’t perfect in so many ways. So, I suspect they would have been less than perfect with any social media tool at their disposal. They, like us, would have been predisposed to quick, unhealthy, responses that once posted or shared, they would have wished they had not offered such commentary for public eye or ear. They would, like us, have allowed their frustration, anger, and/or ill-informed opinions get the best of them and offered embarrassing diatribes across the airwaves. They would have, like us, attempted to cast blame onto others, when they felt less-than or under-recognized in life. They would have, like us, sought to use social media as a platform to sway the masses in a direction contrary to the ways of God, simply because they knew of some power that they once possessed. They would have, like us, wanted to hold on to power for as long and as deep as they could with their swath of opinion in and through the social media platforms.
And yet, despite these less than healthy tendencies Jesus could see in them wonderful possibilities rather than look only at their present sinful nature. He saw them as valued children of God worth any sacrifice necessary to save them from themselves. He saw such hope for them that he was willing to die and rise again to show them resurrection possibilities in their own lives and in the world. Jesus conquered death for them so that they might conquer death, both now and in their own physical deaths.
I suspect that prior to the cross and empty tomb that the disciples would have posted and shared on social media something very different than they would have posted after their Lord’s resurrection began to sink into their hearts and minds. They would, like us, have shared the good news of hope and possibility after the resurrection of Jesus became real to them. They would have, like us, have posted as did the Apostle Paul, when he wrote “From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise. Practice these things: whatever you learned, received, heard, or saw in us. The God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9, CEB)
Prior to the experiences of a crucified and then resurrected Jesus, those earliest of disciples would have been more likely to have posted on social media whatever felt good to them: hate, conflict, competitive opposition, fighting, losing their temper in words, selfishness, jealousy… Their social media presence would have included things that would not have lead them down the path to inherit eternal life. (Galatians 5:16-21, CEB)
However, once Jesus ran deep within their hearts, once their minds became as a resurrected Jesus’s mind, their social media posts would have changed and would have more than likely had the content of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23, CEB)
I am reminding myself, and maybe you need reminding too, that the Resurrection means something. It means something now and it will mean something then. And if it means something to me, then everything I do, including my social media behavior will bear the fruit of that resurrection meaning. What do our social media posts say about us? I am afraid, all too often, those of us who take on the name of Jesus the Christ, that our opinions are not helpful to building up the Kingdom of Jesus. As a matter of fact, all too often we are our worst enemy and are terrible witnesses to the resurrection power of Jesus. We, those of us who take on the name of the resurrected Jesus, all too often are a participant in the tearing down of the Kingdom of Jesus. There is absolutely nothing wrong with social media. The sin or the good is found in the kind of fruit we bear on it and through it. Let’s have some social media resurrection. What do you say? Those of us who take on the name of the resurrected Jesus, let us witness to the resurrection in our words and deeds online, too.
The Rev. Dr. Terry E. Walton
Executive Assistant to the Bishop