As people created in the image of God we crave fellowship, contact, conversation, staying updated on news from family and friends – the main reason why social media such as Facebook have become so popular and virtually a part of our everyday existence. In short, we all like to stay connected.
For any person who believes in God and who, through Jesus Christ, has a personal relationship with God, it is important to stay connected to God. We often refer to this as our relationship with God. It mainly happens through Bible reading, study of Scripture, prayer, listening to the Word proclaimed, asking God for guidance, depending on the Holy Spirit to guide us in all that we do. We refer to this as our vertical relationship.
But we also have a major need and obligation to stay connected horizontally. In other words, God created us with a need to relate to other human beings around us, such as our family members, friends, colleagues and fellow Christians. For those of us who are followers of Christ this happens primarily when we are part of a local church where we support one another, pray for each other, and encourage each other to remain connected with God. The key word in the previous sentence is “another”. It is amazing to note how many times the New Testament refers to the “one another” aspect of our faith! (See an interesting article on this aspect at http://www.smallgroupchurches.com/the-59-one-anothers-of-the-bible/)
I sometimes refer to our horizontal relationships as our “connections”. I have even used the term to refer to our children’s friends and (now) spouses! I don’t know whether they were always impressed with my reference, but these are the kind of relationships that keep us connected with our social world, our family and friends. In the past while we’ve had several visits in Bratislava from people we’ve known or worked with in the past, and it was good to catch up with some our past connections! It reminded me how important it is to build bridges while I can, to live in community, to give attention to these connections of mine. We have that opportunity here in Bratislava. Whether we are here for a short while or for a longer term, let us build relationships, connect with each other, let us make sure we are well-connected with others in our church. These connections may stand us in good stead in the future!