What Saves Us? Technology or Community? | Word from the Shepherd No. 126 | 2nd Sunday Easter Year B

2nd Sunday Easter Year B
Acts 4:32-35; 1 Jn.5:1-6; Jn.20:19-31

The National Geographic, in January 2015, carried a feature entitled “Looking Ahead” by Byron Reese, where he predicted ‘what the world would be in 20 years’. He said that technological improvements, both technical and digital, will solve all of human problems; and that the world will be freed from scourges that plagued us through history. He added that there will be a shake-up of our belief systems-no need for God, no need to be a blessing to others, more poverty and more scarcity. Did his prediction come true? Yes and no! The problems are still there. Poverty and scarcity continues.

The 2020 Covid-19 pandemic exposed this illusion. Man and technology cannot solve everything. TED talks Daily commented that the virus disrupted the many well laid plans and lives of individuals, governments, nations and the world. Exhaustion, anguish, isolation, universal grief, economic insecurity and prolonged uncertainty ails us. It is a universal experience, with the overemphasis on constant safety, which has created the loss of eros (passion), community, chance encounters, vibrancy and live-ness.

Into this world that is devoid of contact and communion, cold and cutting, the Christians of the Acts do provide an option. They made others wonder. Theirs were a community that met everyone’s needs, committed to improve each others’ lives, held that “sharing” was a Christian responsibility, and overcame the world of selfism with charity.

The driving force for the NT Christian were the following:

  1. They saw sacrificial love. The cross was an act of love; and Jesus changed them. It was a call to go beyond preoccupation with self and saving one’s own life.
  2. They saw the Risen Lord. An experience that dispelled doubts, fired up faith and committed them to the ‘way of Christ’. It was overcoming fear of the virus and each other, the uncertain tomorrow and the tiresome precautions and SOPs.
  3. They saw the Jewish view of material wealth. They understood that all material things as finite, will be exhausted eventually, that it was fine to own more but without depriving another of having one. This changed their hearts. They went beyond hoarding, grabbing and self serving.

Keep safe! Be safe! That’s are our new and common greeting to one another. We have a choice to continue being indifferent and heartless or be community. The pandemic, though divisive, reminds us that we need each other, enlivening moments, mutual reliance and shared experience. The early Christian communities made people wonder. They gave counter witness to cold and cutting world. The pandemic challenges us to connect deeply, respond creatively and prioritise mental health more than working at ‘putting food on the table’ only.

Our selfish world needs communities and individuals with identity, confident and free.

What saves us? Technology or community?