Smart speakers (07-06-2022)
Reading (Philippians 2:1-11)
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
I don’t know about you but I talk to many things. I regularly converse with my cat, even though the conversation seems a little one sided. I talk to my plants, especially the small ones that are struggling to grow, I speak words of encouragement to them hoping that this will in some way speed up their growth. I talk to the birds that visit the garden, often apologising to them when I come across them by accident and scare them away. Somehow talking to something that is living seems to be quite a normal thing to do. However, we live in an age when it is not just living things that we talk to anymore, but machines. Many of us will talk to our hand-held computers, be they tablets or mobile phones and many houses have speakers that respond to your voice, answer your questions and link you to the internet. My mum has one such speaker, it sits in the lounge ready to be activated when it is spoken to.
My brother is on holiday in Spain at the moment, so yesterday morning, I asked mum’s speaker what the weather was like in his holiday destination. This very pleasant voice spoke back to me telling me that it was going to be a little cloudy with a maximum temperature of 31 degrees, and in response to the sound of a voice I automatically said ‘Thank you’. The speaker is programmed to be very polite and so it replied to me ‘It is my honour to serve’.
This made me smile, as I wasn’t entirely sure how the machine could be honoured to serve. It was created to serve, its very purpose is to serve, but it doesn’t actually have a choice about it, it is what it was programmed to do and unless it malfunctions in some way, that is what it will continue to do. We on the other hand have a choice, to serve or not to serve, it is entirely up to us. At the end of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations on Sunday, she said “While I may not have attended every event in person, my heart has been with you all; and I remain committed to serving you to the best of my ability, supported by my family. I have been inspired by the kindness, joy and kinship that has been so evident in recent days, and I hope this renewed sense of togetherness will be felt for many years to come.”
The Queen made a choice 70 years ago to serve and she continues to do so, as far as she is able. We know that she is a Christian and that her Christian faith underpins how she lives her life. In Christ we have the supreme example of what it means to serve. Like the Queen may we be able to say that we too will remain committed to serving to the best of our abilities.
Help us Lord, to serve each other, just as you showed us.
Song: Brother, sister, let me serve you