2 Peter 3:1-2 reads in the NIV “Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.”
As I was reading these words I couldn’t help but think that the primary purpose of these words and the words that follow them have their main points around a series of warnings to our author’s friends of things to be on guard for, while at the same time encouraging those that heard these words to seek after Christ.
BUT – That wasn’t what struck me today. What struck me today was that this is a letter from Peter to his friends who had turned to Christ. (In other words – what struck me was the medium that Peter used)
Peter used a letter to convey to his friends, and these words in front of us tell us why he wrote them. He wrote them…
- – To get people thinking about using words that glorified God
- – To remind people of what they had known from the prophets of the past
- – To remind them of the teachings of Jesus
So how does Peter by the inspiration of the Spirit do this? He uses a letter….That letter was as close as it got to folks back in the early church’s day to modern technology. That letter was a powerful God-inspired gift to those who read it.
As I read this letter, Peter is being as personable and real as he can with these folks. And chapter 1 verse 16 (“when we told you…”) points us to see that he had a relationship with many of the listeners of this letter.
This letter was a powerful way to communicate with these people.
You and I have powerful tools available to us some two thousand years later in the forms of a variety of different communication mediums and technological options.
The one thing that I’ve learned with these tools is that they will never replace face to face interaction. They will never replace the power of God. They are tools to an end that help us to connect with people and to point people to God’s word and to Jesus.
We have a Facebook page for our church and it’s been a good way to meet people and to see some of their interests, BUT that interaction is only good if it is supplementing relationships that I’m trying to have in person. If all the folks in my church ever get for interaction from me is a “like” on Facebook or an invitation to something, Facebook will be some mere marketing tool, when its best end in ministry is spurring on real interactions.
For me, we can utilize all these tools but when they replace real interaction that’s when they have become a disservice rather than a service.
The words that Peter was used to pen were built on a foundation of love and concern. His aim wasn’t to merely spout out instructions and feel like he’d done his job there. His aim was that by passing on this letter that folks would consider those words and let God work through them in their lives. Had it been anything other than that, I’m guessing Peter would have looked more like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. Let’s be encouraged that when we choose to use technology and all the various forms of mass communications to use them for that end as well.
Rev. Mark Johannesen is pastor at Word of Life Lutheran Brethren Church in LeSueur, Minnesota.