“‘At that time, everyone will get along with one another, with friendly visits across the fence, friendly visits on one another’s porches.'” Zechariah 3:10 (MSG)
My grandmother kept a daily diary for over 30 years. When she unexpectedly passed away, my grandfather took up the task of writing the diary after her. Many years after they had both passed away, I took upon myself the task of reading through the diaries. It was not exactly the most exciting stuff to read. My grandparents shared very little of their thoughts, feelings, or opinions. Most of the brief entries were a laundry list of what they did each along with a brief description of the weather.
What did strike me about their daily accounts, however, was the amount of “visiting” that they did. People regularly came to their house to play Bridge or Canasta. They regularly got in the car and drove 20 or 30 miles to visit friends and siblings. People stopped for mid-morning or mid-afternoon “coffee time.” There was a whole lot of conversation going on.
Living in the technology age, neighbors are more likely to sit in their shuttered, air conditioned houses watching television or Netflix than they are to chat with one another across the fence. Conversations are reduced to the remote exchange of truncated words typed with a 140 character limit. Rather than sitting on the porch together personally visiting with one another, we are more likely to remain sequestered and isolated in our homes interacting with the world behind a computer screen. I often wonder what kind of impact this has on our culture.
I found it interesting that when Zechariah predicts the coming of the Messiah, he prophetically proclaims two major results: Sin will be wiped out in a single day, and there will be an increase in community as people get along and visit with one another.
Today, I’m reminded that being a follower of Jesus is not just about my relationship with God, but also my relationship with others. Jesus said that there are two major commandments that are equal in importance: love God and love others. I tend to believe that a big part of loving others is making the effort to get out from behind my computer screen and actually take the time and effort to “visit.”