Recently a 5G network advertisement caught my attention. I paused and asked myself, "What is 5G really?” In short, it is a wireless network that works off new radio frequencies. The promise of a 5G network is faster downloads, more devices on one network and speed — lots of it.
Do we as a society really need a faster wireless network? Has not the pandemic taught us the value of slowing down so that our connections with people and place are rerouted and grounded in practices that give us a fuller sense of a a good life? As we mark the one-year anniversary of the pandemic’s impact in our individual and common life, I commend to you another 5G network, one at the intersection of Christian faith and life — the 5G network of Jesus’ Way: gratitude, generosity, grace, groundedness and gentleness.
Each of us who follow a faith tradition seeks to navigate daily life framed by faith. At this intersection, our faith values influence our words and actions. Living a life within the 5G Network of Jesus’ Way is one of discipleship. It is a life that is rooted in relating to other people, just as a person tends and cares for one’s own self. Consider Jesus’ Way:
Gratitude: Each day is one to return thanks to God the Creator for making a new day for all creation. Returning thanks to Creator God with “all our heart, soul, and our mind” opens us to receiving all that we need for daily living as gift.
Generosity: Just as God is a generous gift giver, followers of Jesus’ commit to acts of sharing, kindness and openness to neighbors, land and creatures. Gratitude for God’s work in our lives cultivates approaching life’s complexities with a spirit of abundance rather than scarcity.
Grace: As a Lutheran Christian, I live within the promises that God makes for me in the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Jesus, each of us connects with God who meets us in our brokenness, bears our sorrows, and again and again extends to us an all-encompassing love. My only response to this redeeming grace is to say “yes” to God’s “yes” in my life. “For I have been saved by grace through faith," writes Paul in Eph 2:8. A response of “yes” to God’s active love for all roots me in Jesus’ Way. St Paul writes “. . . continue to live your lives in Christ, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." (Col. 2:6-7)
Groundedness: Rooted in Christ means that as a Follower of Jesus’ Way, you and I are grounded in God’s steadfast presence. Author Diana Butler Bass, in "Grounded: A Spiritual Revolution,' writes ““The overarching narrative of the Bible is that of humanity searching for home.” God’s beloved community or church offers this home and a 5G life that is one of connection and abundance, as opposed to the world’s offering of a faster network. How might nurturing a good life on faith practices that engender a grace-filled fullness rather than the empty fullness found in consuming fast pace of life?
Gentleness: In 2020, we learned about so many raw edges in life — personal and communal. Jesus’ Way sets forth boundaries for our common good, but in such a way that each human being is honored rather than degraded amid conflict and injustice.
For those whose lives are directed by the Christian liturgical calendar, Holy Week and Easter are soon upon us. As you stop or pause of the intersection of faith and life today and those head of you, may you experience the call of Jesus’ Way — a 5G network in which life is lived with life generating fullness.
Anne Hokenstad is pastor at American Lutheran Church in Worthington.