Be our guest this Sunday!

Worship starts at 10:45 am. Gatherings for all ages at 9:30 am.

FFC2023 - Blog Post - Known and Loved

7 Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! 9 If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night," 12 even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. 

- Psalm 139:7-12 (ESV)

I usually like technology. It makes my life more comfortable. When watching a show, ordering and paying for Chipotle from the comfort of my couch using an app on my phone, I know I've got it good – really good. Thanks to technology and free market capitalism, I'm pretty sure that I live better, materially speaking, than all of my ancestors combined – and with one swab of DNA sent to, I could probably find out!

However, technology sometimes creeps me out, like when Facebook ads seem clairvoyant. How does Mark Zuckerberg know I want to buy a hammock? I understand his advertisements for Omaha Steaks. My poker face for direct mail meat is non-existent. What I don't understand is how Facebook knows I'm merely thinking about suspending myself on mesh between two trees this summer. Advertisements like that can leave people wondering if they're on the Truman Show. 

Once, my friend talked over lunch with a coworker about visiting a resort. Later in the day, when she sat at her work computer, she found an ad for that very resort on her timeline! Today's surveillance capitalism would impress even George Orwell. 

What is it that freaks us most about this technology? My guess is that we understand that to be known is to be vulnerable and that increased vulnerability is a double-edged sword. It can enable us to enjoy deeper levels of acceptance and inclusion while also exposing us to higher levels of expectation and judgment. Therefore, our most significant source of consternation is probably not at what level we're known but rather by whom. 

This sharper edge of vulnerability can tempt us toward a life of hiding, concealing our most authentic selves from those around us – even God. We fear and avoid exposure because exposure usually means judgment. However, our hiding provides no true salvation. There is no experience of love without vulnerability. Hiding from judgment isn't the same thing as finding acceptance. 

Sadly, this can reduce our practice of religion to little more than an ironic quest to hide from God privately while worshipping him publicly. We plaster a thin veneer of religious beliefs and behaviors over our true selves, hiding from judgment but never finding acceptance. 

Thankfully, Jesus offers us so much better.

Child of God: Jesus knew everything about you but came here anyway. He entered this world and your redemption story with eyes wide open. He knows all about you – all. You could not be more known or vulnerable than before the probing insight of His omniscient gaze, the splendor of His omnipotent might, and the inescapability of his omnipresence. Before Him, you're laid bare. 

Yet, there is no judgment. Christ already bore it for you in your place. It's gone, all of it – never to be remembered again. Jesus ran to judgment, so you no longer need to run from it. You don't need to hide. You can't, anyway. And, knowing how much he loves you, why would you want to?

God loves you. Don't forget it.