A Virtual Blessing

June 01, 2009

It's an early Sabbath morning as I write this. My favorite time to sit quietly and absorb the presence of God. An open Bible, a challenging book, a thoughtful article, a heartfelt song—they all inspire and uplift me.

Earlier, I risked distraction and wandered electronically over to my Facebook account. If you've never been there, it's one of those "social media" places on the Internet where friends network together with comments, photos and videos.

Sometimes it's TMI—too much information. For example, a friend has now gleefully posted (to my chagrin) a photo of my very first date—two awkward teenagers standing three feet apart sporting resigned "deer-in-the-headlights" looks of impending doom. Yet another stark reminder I was no Don Juan.

But this morning, Facebook transcended that. An online friend said he was watching live video of the Oregon Adventist Men's Chorus in Romania. I immediately logged on, and for the next 45 minutes sat engrossed with headphones plugged in as 50+ Northwest men, joined by a fledgling Romanian chorus, sung their hearts out on stage thousands of miles away. Inspiration leaped across the synapse of space with each swelling stanza.

The amount of information on the Internet astounds me. The most obscure item can be searched out in seconds. It is so accessible; we've become infatuated with the technology that connects us. Happiness is a direct result—so the media messages seem to say—of continually grasping the latest, coolest mobile device.

But the best technology in the world would never have connected me with a Sabbath blessing had not a Facebook friend first said—“You gotta see this." And even that would have been pointless if our Northwest chorus had never made Romania a mission.

The time we spend browsing the Web may indeed prove productive. The virtual interaction through MySpace, Facebook, Twitter or other online or mobile social media, may indeed be helpful. It was for me this morning. But only because a friend was willing to share a blessing.

And only because a committed group of Northwest Adventists had dreamed and sacrificed to make it so.

In these economically challenging times, it's a great reminder: The truest blessings are created when we move out of our virtual electronic world into the real ebb and flow of life where anonymity drops away and lasting relationships are forged—some of them for eternity.

A [Facebook] friend has now gleefully posted (to my chagrin) a photo of my very first date.