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Lady Pastor: All the world is God's domain

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"Your domain has expired." The words scrolled across the computer screen, and I felt a sudden stream of panic.

Since early 2009, I've been maintaining a blog — an online webspace of personal photos and reflections. Over the years, the blog has provided a cyber home in which to process the journey through early adulthood. But suddenly one day last week, it appeared to be gone. Expired. Poof! Without warning. It evaporated into the webosphere all at once. A digital disaster.

A few folks reached out to let me know that they weren't able to access the blog; variations of: "Everything OK? I noticed your blog isn't working."

At first, I felt unfazed, thinking I'd certainly get it all straightened out; I assumed some kind of technical glitch. But as the minutes passed, a vague dread started to set in. I knew in my heart it was completely a "first-world problem" — not major (like drought or starvation), not significant (like malaria or lack of clean water), just an inconvenience. But it still felt like a loss — not just of words, but of a chapter of my life that only exists in a digital format. I wondered, "Why have I never paused to back up those thousands of posts and photos?"

Perhaps you, too, have experienced a digital disaster along the way. A hard drive that crashed in the middle of a big work project. A digital camera that you lost on vacation along with a few hundred priceless photos. A cell phone that you dropped and shattered, taking with it all your most beloved text messages and snapshots.

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We live in a world of rapidly changing forms of media. And sometimes, without much warning, we lose access to our photos, data, and all the rest. There are cases when we're able to retrieve it, and there are cases when we're not. We know that we're supposed to save all the files and back them up, but we get lazy and assume there will be time on another day for mundane tasks such as digital content back-up. That "save all the files" day rarely occurs. But sometimes, even when it does, our back-ups and saved files get corrupted. This is life in the digital age.

In the case of the blog, I was able to connect with the domain host website and get everything straightened out. My recently-updated debit card number was conveyed, the $15 annual hosting fee was paid, and six years' of content was suddenly returned to the web. Where had it gone? I'm not exactly sure. But it returned, to my great relief.

Yet the lessons were not lost on me. There are no digital guarantees. Attachment to digital content is not so different from attachment to physical objects.

Jesus has a few words on the theme. He wasn't referring to blogs or photo albums, journals or cell phones, PowerPoints or term papers. But I think he was talking about attachment, perspective, and what really matters. Jesus says in the Gospel of Matthew, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Jesus was well aware that in this earthly life, we can't depend on our stuff, digital or otherwise. What we can depend on is God and God's promise to be the ever-present, always-consistent domain of our lives. What a gift that the author of joy and creator of faith never expires or disappears!

Related Topics: INTERNET
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