by Simon Werrett, Evangelical Church Minister, former SIO in an MIT
The Guv’nors briefing was "knock on the door, speak to the witness, check who last called them on their landline" (it was a few years ago!) and then obtain their account of what had happened. But when the team arrived at the door, there was no answer, and so the Guv’nor (being the only one with a new-fangled device called a mobile) decided to ring the witness to ask them to open the door – no prizes for guessing the last number called!
One person, even with good intentions, can alter the course of events.
The best advice I ever had when attending crime scenes as a Senior Investigating Officer, in those lovely white suits, was to keep my hands in my pocket and touch nothing (and I was the boss!). It was important to keep the integrity of the scene and document all actions. People with good intentions have used their ‘knowledge’ to check phones which alters the data held.
However, just one person’s actions can impact on thousands of others.
Last week there was a severe global disruption to the internet when ‘a customer pushed a valid configuration change that included the specific circumstances that triggered the bug, causing 85% of Fastly's network to "return errors.’ One customer's legitimate actions caused disruption to UK Government, BBC, Amazon sites with visitors seeing the ‘HTTP Error 503’ which makes a change from the usual ‘404’ error.
One person's actions...
In the Bible we read of one man’s actions which altered the course of history. Paul expounds this in Romans 5 speaking about how sin entered through one man- Adam. God only gave one rule in the Garden of Eden, ‘but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.' (Gen 2:17)) Adam disobeys God, sin enters the world, and we know the rest of the story.
Reconciliation also came through one man, the Lord Jesus Christ. As Paul writes ‘the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ…..’ It was through one man, God’s son, that the offer of salvation came. One man, both divine and human, altered the course of history, with his death and resurrection. The well known verse in John’s gospel reminds us’ that God so loved the world he sent his one and only son’ (John 3:16), just as it only took one person to bring sin into the world, it only took one person to overcome and reconcile people to God.
Adam’s actions caused a great disruption to the world, a very big ‘error 503’ but it was Jesus who rectified the error.
Mary in the garden witnesses the risen Christ and runs to tell the others. Peter from the Upper Room stands up on the day of Pentecost and preached the gospel, over three thousand were impacted by this message. Paul, in synagogue, market square and the Areopagus, just one man through whose missionary activity and network the gospel message spread throughout the Roman Empire. The effects of each individual's actions are still felt today.
The internet is embedded in our lives, and this should be reflected in our church lives. As restrictions are eased and people return to buildings, there still needs to be online activities whether through hybrid services or digital outreach. If only 5% people come to our buildings, but we reach 25% online then why would we reject the 20% by stopping our online work. We are all, as Christians, called to be his witnesses, whether online or onsite.
The French Sherlock Holmes (Dr Edmond Locard) formulated the principle that ‘every contact lives a trace’ in that ‘wherever he steps, whatever he touches, whatever he leaves, even unconsciously, will serve as a silent witness against him.'
As the English Sherlock Holmes would say ‘elementary dear Watson.’
This reminds us that as Christians, whether online or onsite we leave a trace of our presence, we should leave a trace of the ‘aroma of Christ’ as his ‘ambassadors.’
As a student on the MA in Digital Theology course I would encourage you to consider joining us in September. Check out (or in) the Taster Sessions at Spurgeon's College. 22 June, 26th June: Join Here.