Facebook has really filled the news this past week as founder and CEO Mark Zukerberg testified before Congress regarding the use and sale of consumer’s personal data. I utilize Facebook- I know many of you do. Millions of people in this country, and billions around the world access Facebook every day. Only a few years ago at an Annual Conference I purchased a book on the Bishop’s recommended reading list, “Facebook Church.”
The book claimed that for many users Facebook was rapidly replacing the church or other face-to-face communities as the place people shared thoughts, ideas, spiritual questions, and even friendship and community.
In his appearance before Congress, Mark Zuckerberg even declared this was one of the most fundamental goals and vision of the Facebook company- to build community, to connect people with friends and people they love. To do good.
I believe these were the initial ideals of Facebook. How and if these goals have been reached, and /or what when wrong is a bigger issues than we can consider here; but we can look at a related question: can social media, can cyberspace- can virtual, digital community replace actual physical human community?
Acts 4: 32-35 clearly outlines the importance of people joining resources together in a very real and practical way to care for one another.
There are at least three aspects of this community that cannot be digitally duplicated. After I share them with you we are going to share these gifts of community by singing a few favorite hymns. I invite you to take a moment and think of a favorite song- you can find it listed by title or first line in both the back of the Hymnal, and The Faith We Sing.
These are three essential elements of a faith community like St. Nicholas impossible to reproduce in social media network “communities”:
So, let’s celebrate the gift of this community this morning by sharing some of our favorite hymns…