Hands up if you're bewildered by the progress of technology? OK, that's most of us then. Once upon a time if you wished to communicate with someone who wasn't in close proximity you had to write them a letter, allow time for it to be delivered and await the reply…one of the reasons why life seemed slower. Nowadays even the landline telephone seems rather quaint when it comes to personal communication. This is the age of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Snapchat, Skype, FaceTime, Pinterest and goodness knows what else. Information and communication technology has transformed the way that billions of people communicate and interact in real time..
But technology doesn't sleep, the next big thing we are promised is the 'Internet of Things'. Some of what is promised appears rather fanciful but just this week two of our largest retailers, Carphone Warehouse and Dixons (Currys and PC World) have announced a merger that will link a retailer of smart phone technology (internet) with a retailer of electronic goods (things). So in the future you will be able to control your central heating, intruder alarm, washing machine, etc. from work and rather than writing a shopping list your fridge will automatically inform the supermarket what you need and arrange for it to be delivered. Come on, admit it, that's what you've been waiting for all your life! Admittedly it would be more impressive if the internet would empty the washer and hang the washing on the line, but somehow I don't think that's going to happen.
Thinking about all of this I was reminded of Jesus' words, "What do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?" Mark 8:36,37. I am no technophobe and am happy to admit to many ways in which technology has improved my life, but it's not my hope, Each one of us has a body, mind and spirit and to be whole and fully human all three dimensions of our being need to be nurtured, but perhaps the area of the spirit is the most important part of who we are, and the soul, as belonging to the spirit is the source of our identity, it is what makes us who we are. To neglect it is to commit a great folly and to do ourselves a disservice. There is a limit to what technology can achieve even when its boldest predictions come true, which doesn't always happen. How ironic and sad that a person could be fully conversant about the Internet of Things and totally oblivious to the need of their soul.
On 8th June we celebrate the Day of Pentecost, a reminder if we need one, of the gift of the Holy Spirt given to nurture our souls and spirits, to teach us more about Jesus and to comfort and strengthen us. I can get by without my smartphone (just!) but I wouldn't want to face life without God's Spirit at work in my life.
Grace and Peace