Pixels & Presence
“I’m praying for you,” is a phrase we often see on Facebook, often expressed to a person who is facing loss or tragedy. To me, this expression has many times been a great source of encouragement.
I was recently reflecting, though, on something than has had even more meaning, and that is when a person has done what’s been called “the ministry of presence.” In other words, the power of a person just being there. Whether it’s the person who comes to give you a meal, or the individual who shows up at the family member’s funeral, there is power in personal presence.
This should not surprise us. As human beings, we are made in God’s image, and we are His embodied creations. As our age becomes more hyper connected through screens, we need to be reminded of the power of in-person connections.
One Christian writer said about the Incarnation, “Jesus did not come to earth as a pixel, He came as a Person.” If Jesus Christ—the Living Son of God—came to earth to walk among the people and share among their hurts, diseases, struggles and more—we certainly could do the same.
When the trials and troubles of life come, it is a blessing to have God’s people praying for you. In it also a great blessing to have people with you and praying with you. It may be a friend, a family member or fellow church member. That someone by your side through struggles is powerful.
While we don’t want to show up when we are not welcome, and while we don’t want to be like Job’s friends who “ministered” through presence and bad words and ideas, there is a way to do it right. The next time a door of opportunity arises, where you sense God giving you an opening through just being there for that person, consider stepping into that door.
Your presence for that person could hold more meaning for them than what you are able to offer through pixels on a screen.