"When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, 'What are you looking for?' They said to him, 'Rabbi, where are you staying?' He said to them, 'Come and see.'" - John 1:38
Seriously, what is the internet? Many of us use the internet on a daily basis (like right now), but does anyone know what it actually is? All of these web pages, where are they exactly? If you can't show it to me, why should I believe it's really there?
As research for this devotion I asked the internet about itself and googled "what is the internet?" I got 4 billion hits. I only looked at the first billion and then I got a little tired. What is the internet?!!
Imagine explaining the internet to someone in a preindustrial culture who has never used electricity much less a computer. You might say, "The internet is a limitless, global network that knows everything. You can look stuff up, buy things, find a husband or a wife, it's all there!" Obviously that would mean little to our pre-industrial friend. Finally, you say, "You know what, why don't you just come over to my house, we'll turn on the computer and you can see for yourself. Come and See. Come and See."
When it comes to God we face a similar challenge. What is God? Where is God? We are told God is infinite and everywhere and clearly we are not. So how can limited beings access the infinite, all-knowing ground of being that permeates our lives and the universe at large?
The New Testament's answer is simple: Jesus. Jesus is our window through whom we experience and connect to the wider, mysterious mainframe of God. Jesus is as necessary for experiencing God as a computer (or smartphone or tablet) is for experiencing the internet.
John doesn't have all of this neatly worked out. He's more poet than scientist. John invites us into the mystery, to experience the presence of God in Christ by following him.
Are you online?
God, thank you for granting us a window into your heart. May we look to Jesus at least as often as we turn to one of our screens.
Matthew Laney is the Senior Minister of Asylum Hill Congregational Church, UCC, in Hartford, Connecticut.