If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? (1 Corinthians 12:17)
What are the ‘eye, ear, nose, tongue and skin’ of which Paul speaks here? Are these the essentials of sense organs to do God’s mission? Does digitalisation enter the body through which we can do missions in the digital world? Perhaps, yes. Yet the meaning goes deeper in it based upon today’s context.
The world that we live in today is an advancement of civilisation that has been built from science (technology) and religion (ideology) developed and are currently integral parts of the human creation of the digital world. Global crises such as wars and pandemics have pushed our lifestyle, faith, and mission further into a digital world and brought changes in behaviour that are likely to have lasting effects by the time spirituality starts to pick up. While attending Church has become a choice for some, as they can watch any sermon online, others are not ready to embrace a more digitised world due to their choices and access to digital tools. This thought must be taken up, prayerfully and thoughtfully, and must be put into how the contemporary resources of God’s people can remain proactive in Mission.
In 1 Corinthians 12:17, Paul demonstrates to the Church in Corinth how the body and its various sense organs function. Each organ has a specific purpose that would be missed if it were gone. The life of the Corinthian Church was an open one, like today’s digital world. Paul uses a formula envisaging that God is the creator of all things, and creation is not simply an originating fact but an ongoing intention. Like, “If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?” So our senses should all be in control – we might call it the soul or the conscience – through which we perceive the right way to live and act in the changing world. If our sense organs are healthy, then our whole being will be ready for the Mission.
God’s mission in the digital world takes various shapes in various contexts based on rapidly changing digital trends. Therefore, sharing our faith and making disciples needs proactive adoption and creative integration of the digital trends available while preserving the integrity of the gospel values to answer the spiritual needs of the digital community.
God the Trinity, help us live in harmony with the digital world. Give us the wisdom and skills to utilise digital technologies to fulfil your mission in this changing world. Also, bless the leftover, and neglected by this digital world. In Jesus’ name – Amen.
-Gnanak Gerhardson Munnangi
Andhra Christian Theological College