Loving The Medium, Not The Message
Author and activist Elie Wiesel once told his students a parable of a man who was so in love with a certain woman that he sent her letters every day. Eventually, Wiesel remarked, she fell in love with the mailman.
I've been thinking about that story for a couple of months, just letting it marinate a bit.
I'm not sure how that kind of thing works for you, but sometimes I have to sit with a story, a thought, a quote or an idea before I can begin to hear more clearly how it is speaking, and what it might be saying.
Today it came to me.
Futurist Marshall McLuhan once said something incredibly profound about the way that people perceive what they are hearing, seeing, experiencing. For good or bad, McLuhan firmly believed that: "The medium is the message."
In other words, no matter what the man was saying in his letters, the woman he was in love with began to associate those words with the person who was delivering them and fell for him instead.
I feel like that far too many of us Jesus-followers have fallen in love with the various mediums through which the messages and exhortations of Jesus are conveyed. And in so doing we miss out on the full experience of Jesus in the world around us.
Which is why so many Christians will know the Bible "inside and out," but will completely misinterpret what it says. They will memorize certain verses but then gloss over the really difficult sayings of Jesus that speak directly into their lives.
I read this wonderful quote from C.S. Lewis this week where Lewis describes our encounters with Jesus with these words:
...a dynamic, pulsating activity, a life, almost a kind of drama. Almost, if you will not think me irreverent, a kind of dance.How often do you hear Christians talk about their reasons for being Christian with those kinds of words? "I follow Jesus because encountering Jesus is a dynamic, pulsating activity, a life, a drama... a dance."
But what if we were able to embrace this and live differently? What if we focused simply on desiring to be near Jesus, to discover the eternal, universal Christ in everything and everyone around us? I believe this would change everything for us and would transform the way we experience and then share our faith.
May this be true for you today and every day forward. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.
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