The story is told of a woman who had a long password for her laptop…. EveMosesDavidJosephRuthJudasMaryJesusJerusalem
When asked why it was so long and complicated she responded, “Well it said it had to be eight characters long and include one capital!”
As I write this, we have reached the day when the new General Data Protection rules come into force. The thoughts behind them are that we need to be careful about how we hold and use the personal information we have about others. For some, the numerous emails they have had asking if they want to remain on someone’s contact list have been annoying… but also helpful in getting them to realise just how many people have their details and then being able to decide if they want that person or organisation to keep them. As a church and Christians sometimes we act as if we have a God given right to have people’s contact details and pass them on to whoever we want, but we do not. We need to respect others’ privacy as we would want them to respect ours. In this world where data can easily be used to abuse people, we need to recognise this important part of our safeguarding ourselves and others.
And it may be helpful at this time to imagine God sending us that email or letter, asking if we still want him to hold our details, if we still want to be known and loved by him. A time for recommitment to what is important to us.
But also, what if we sent that email or letter to God, asking if we can still hold his details and proclaim his name in how we live our lives? Please spend some time this month thinking about how much you know about God and how much God knows about you and how you can respectfully pass those details on to others.
And thankfully the Bible is not covered under data protection in this country so feel free to look up the details of the eight characters listed above in that password and see what they have to tell you about God and life. And that city which is still very much in the news today.
Thankfully we have a God whose name is known and universal, who does not have an address but is everywhere, who does not need a phone number but is available through prayer, and does not have a date of birth but is ageless.
God does not need our addresses, phone numbers or dates of birth, but knows us – who we are, not how we are labelled.
Maybe we ought to be more like our God and hold personal details more lightly but make personal contact more important.
You have looked deep into my heart, LORD, and you know all about me.
You know when I am resting or when I am working, and from heaven you discover my thoughts
Please read all of Psalm 139 if you can.