I was cooking supper the other night and went to throw something away in the trash. My trash is next to my patio door that looks out into my backyard. I was rather shocked to see a small machine hovering in the air about twenty feet from my door and it was looking right at me! At first I was not sure what it was and then I realized it was a drone. I called my son to come and see it and we both marveled at the small size and mobility of this new flying technology. I then began to wonder who was controlling it and so I started looking around at the neighboring homes to see if I could see anyone. Sure enough, the house catty-corner from my back yard on the deck was a man with the controls of the drone. He soon realized that I had located him and he quickly flew the drone back to his own yard and parked it on the deck and then went inside his home. I thought nothing more about it and yet something kept me glancing over my shoulder as I completed our supper. Sure enough, a couple of minutes later the drone was back. This time I didn’t pay visible attention to it but my son and I went to a bedroom that looks over the back yard and has a bamboo curtain in which we could see the backyard but without a light on in the bedroom no one could see us. It wasn’t long and the drone left and I haven’t seen it since. My first thoughts about this incident as I reflected upon it later in the evening was that the man must have a new toy and is learning how to work with it. I put on social media an account of the incident and the remarks of some of my friends were interesting. Most of the comments were similar; being watched like that by a neighbor is rather creepy! I must confess it felt creepy. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and think that he was just learning how to use the technology, but I will also keep an eye on the sky in the future. I could put a curtain on the patio door window if the drone visits again.
While we may feel like our lives are private and that having a drone with a camera on it hovering in our backyard pointed at the window of the room we are standing is spying, it is not anything new. I grew up in a small town and believe me there was a Mom-network where my Mom would know what I had done wrong before I even got home from playing outside! There were no secrets for long in our small town. We knew who was having visitors or who was having a party or who was eating supper with which neighbor. We knew who was having an affair, who was getting divorced and who beat their kids! It was easy to know these things because everyone was watching everyone else and if a stranger arrived in our little town everyone wanted to know who they were visiting to know if they were safe people to be there. When my brother would come in the house for supper and Mom or Dad asked who was visiting the neighbors and if he didn’t know he would be on his bike as soon as supper was over, riding around the block checking out the make of the car, the year, the license plate and any other information to be had and every other kid was doing the same. While we may not have had much privacy we did not bother other people, we weren’t spies, just curious. I can’t say how many times I would be asked who was visiting my home. People at the post office or the bank or the grocery store would ask or people would stop me on the street to find out who was staying the weekend at my home. It was all part of taking care of each other and also a form of entertainment. So maybe that is what this new technology with drones is, just a way to know what is going on in the neighborhood. It might be kinder, however, if the neighbors knew each other as well as I knew the people in my little town while growing up. I haven’t met my neighbors and don’t even know their names!
Since the beginning of time people have been curious about what other people were doing in the community where they live. Jesus was spied on everywhere He went during His three-year ministry. He was well-known in the community He grew up in and wasn’t really believed to be the Messiah or a prophet there either. Let’s take a look at two passages telling us about Jesus and see what we can learn.
When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.” And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith. Matthew 13:53-58, (New International Version or NIV).
Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith. Mark 6:1-6, (NIV).
The first thing I notice is that the teachers and attenders in the synagogue in Jesus’s home town knew everything about Him, even His siblings names and that He was born to Mary. They knew that His earthly father was a carpenter. At first they were amazed in the knowledge He had about the scriptures and the way that He preached. But after they figured out who His relatives were they dismissed Him as not being all that important. Obviously Joseph and Mary were not considered one of the important power couples in their community. Jesus was dismissed as being no one of importance. I suppose if I went back to my home town today people would not acknowledge me for my accomplishments in life but would identify me as that Parks girl, my paternal family name! How would the people see you in your home town? My guess is that you would be known by your family and not really your own accomplishments. Why is that? Why are we judged on our family reputation rather than our own accomplishments? We are judged to be good or someone to be leery of simply by our family associations. Jesus didn’t measure up, oh He might preach a good sermon, but He is that carpenter’s son. Everywhere Jesus went from then on He was spied upon and judged to be no good. We need to be mindful of our own responsibility as members of God’s family.
We are God’s child if we are followers of Jesus Christ and we bear the name Christian. We should have nothing to hide even from a camera drone directed at our kitchen patio door. We should live in such a way that people wonder how we can be so blessed, how we can be so calm in the midst of life struggles, how we can be so calm in the midst of the chaos that continues around us. Jesus didn’t give up and stop preaching just because people in His home synagogue didn’t accept Him even though they may have judged Him as a quack. We also must not give up just because people we used to know don’t believe that our life has changed since we met Jesus and became a Christian, a part of God’s family. We need to make God proud and defend His reputation and uphold His commands and continue to live the life of a servant. As to the drone I am thinking of making a sign to put up if I see the camera drone focused on my house and me again. I might just say, “Come over and let’s get acquainted!” After all if I am going to be watched then they might as well know who I am, a child of God!