“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord.” (Col.3:23)
When I was a kid, our family owned a complete set of The World Book Encyclopedia, which occupied several shelves of a bookcase in the phone room and which was in surprisingly frequent use. Does this sound familiar to you? In the middle of a conversation one of us would shout, “I’ll look it up!” and then we went running. Who could get to the bookshelf first? Who could thumb through those thin, crisp pages first to find the answer? Ah, the days of competition and the incredible revelations held so preciously between the covers of that information universe.
Today, very rarely do I hear those words, not because people aren’t looking things up—though I wish that would happen more often, but because no one needs to run anywhere—it’s all right here. The universe of information has been shrunk to a pinpoint. Or a mouse click. Here, in the palm of my hand rests the World Book and dozens of other encyclopedias, dictionaries, journals, research papers, and all manner of trash and fluff almost beyond imagining.
The importance of this ‘instant access’ is not lost on anyone, as witnessed by a national plan to blanket the country with “wireless fidelity” (Wi-fi) by 2030. In a world where changes are counted on a global scale in minutes instead of days, and where information can be corrupted in a most attractive and sophisticated fashion, access to facts is crucial. Additionally, social media—electronic socializing—is a standard that up until recently, many have avoided and parents have lamented. The outbreak of Covid-19 has changed all that. The “Wi-fi” standard” and the ubiquity of access has shown itself to be almost indispensable.
Many knew this day would come, just not all at once. We like to ease into change, especially change of this magnitude. But the virus has short circuited our leisure (at least in this area) and we are hard pressed chasing the wave. In the past two months I have spent hours on the internet searching for better ways to “do” internet—and all of the equipment and configurations necessary for a more secure and reliable connection--to the internet! Cameras, wire, frequency protocols, broadcast standards, nodes, modems, routers, portals, networks and access points have filled my days and plagued my dreams.
So many options, in the world of access, slowed my progress, but eventually one choice seems to be the right one. It was an easy choice once I made it. It seemed to talk to me, to show me it was the right choice for the job I needed doing. Oh, I certainly had “buyer’s remorse” the day after I hit that purchase key, but now that it’s here (most of it anyway), I am at peace with it. It was a journey to embrace, discover, educate, and engage all for the singular purpose of providing access to all. Sound familiar?
These next two weeks I will be continuing to grow on my journey, running wire through the Church and Parish Hall, setting up networks and tweaking protocols. It will be hard physical and cranial work, but it is necessary and, in the end, simply the right thing to do. I know that when I am finished “setting it all up” I will never actually be finished. It will need to be tended and things will go wrong occasionally that I will have to deal with, but that’s okay, it has to be—it’s part of the journey. As in life, and really as in our spiritual lives and relationship with God, our efforts and failure to “connect” are in no way a reflection on the internet, which is sure and constant. Sound familiar?
So, when you come back to church at church there will be a NEW Wi-fi network and access from everywhere. Our God is indeed “wireless” in ways we have shown and lived throughout the quarantine—accessible from anywhere, and Lord knows, He is faithful. Wireless Fidelity. This is us, God’s people. We will send the Gospel into all the world via the World Wide Web--and the reality of risen Lord will present through our love and song and presence. Though our efforts may be clunky and rough around the edges, our hearts will show the way as our hands are blessed by God.
“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!” (Prov. 90:17)
Yes, yes indeed! Sounds familiar.
Father Bill Burk†