Christ Has No Online Presence But Yours


Christ has no body now on earth but yours; no hands but yours; no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which the compassion of Christ must look out on the world. Yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good. Yours are the hands with which He is to bless His people.

~St. Teresa of Avila

I recently ran across St. Teresa’s prayer as I was reviewing the Diocesan Confirmation materials, in particular the guide for Confirmation candidates and their sponsors. It struck me again how beautifully Teresa’s prayer reminds us of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.

It also reminded me of Meredith Gould’s adaptation (video by my friend Cheryl Smith of the Diocese of Syracuse) which calls us to bring our faith and love to that virtual online world which engages so many of us… while at the same time scaring many of us…. or maybe both:

Have you noticed that the online world is not always a gentle, loving place? I become increasingly depressed as I hear news about shootings, terrorism, racial tensions, political ad hominem arguments… and religious polarization. Where is Christ in all of this? As comments abound after an online statement, there are few examples of good listening skills, benefits of the doubt, or affirmations of people who post even if their is disagreement with the content of the post.

One way to side-step the hubbub and keep the Story of Christ’s love in the forefront is the use of graphic images, often with pithy text embedded in or with them.

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Besides doing an end-run around paralyzing arguments and conflicts, we can keep asserting the beauty of God’s Reign in proactive, easy to consume images.

  • The first question is, “What part of God’s Story do I want to share?”
  • Secondly, “What is the best way to share it?”

I was recently participating in the weekend liturgy at a nursing home. The chapel was filled with mostly seniors who appeared well past retirement age. Many of them were residents in their wheelchairs. The priest offered a statement that struck me in a new way. “The question isn’t what I will live on, it is what I will live for.” It took on a new meaning for me because I was surrounded by people staring in the face of end of life issues… and yet the homilist posed a question that assumed we all had a life that was intrinsically valuable in spite of any infirmity. We still had a call from God to live for God’s Reign, regardless of our present state of health, or perceived ability (or lack thereof). I can hear God saying, “Okay, you are not as young or robust as you were, but you are still my child… my disciple. I have an idea of what you are living for, do you?” One may even add …”who you are living for? This is the story about God I wanted to pose.

So with two photos taken by my friend and colleague, Julie Tschida, I juxtaposed them into one, using Apple’s Keynote (you can also use Microsoft PowerPoint) because it is so easy to combine photos on one slide and the export it as a single graphic (jpg in this case).

I then went to one of my favorite free tools, the Motivator at Big Huge Labs, and created the motivational poster. When uploaded to Facebook, Twitter, or other online environment, you can tell a story, create a ponderment, or assert an opinion that can be consumed by the careful reader or casual scanner alike. The point is to creative a positive culture online, a culture into which we bring the compassion, good and blessings of Christ because “Christ Has No Online Presence But Yours.”

Tim Welch is the Consultant for Educational Technology at Catholic Education Ministries, Diocese of Saint Cloud, MN. With more that 35 years of experience at the parish and diocesan levels, he is continually searching for ways of journeying with others to implement proven technologies that can serve ministry (especially catechesis).
Tim Welch is the Consultant for Educational Technology at Catholic Education Ministries, Diocese of Saint Cloud, MN. With more that 35 years of experience at the parish and diocesan levels, he is continually searching for ways of journeying with others to implement proven technologies that can serve ministry (especially catechesis).

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