I have lived in the Winston-Salem area for just about all of my life and often visited the original Moravian settlement of Old Salem. For the first time this past Sunday, I attended their Easter Sunrise Service. Having experienced it, I wonder now why I never did it before. As I stood on the hill in the Old Salem Cemetery on God's Acre, all around me were the headstones, each one exactly the same. The Moravians believed in the democracy of death and making it impossible to tell by the graves who was rich and who was poor. It was a simple service that hasn't changed much in its 242 year history. My wife and I, along with thousands of other worshipers, stood to hear the band play and the minister recite his lines. It was reverent, real, and authentic.
Reflecting on the worship service, I thought about how different the experience was than what society sells to us. In today's world, everyone (me included) paints a digital masterpiece of themselves, showing only those highlights and moments they choose. While it all seems to be personal, there is an inherent impersonality to it. What is the difference between reality or the digital collage of someone's reality? With social media there is always the subtle pressure of posting something people will like, retweet, or favorite. It takes keeping up with the neighbors to another level. I guess that is why the experience on Sunday stood out as counter cultural. There was no anticipation from the crowd to see what was new with the service, it was exactly the same as it has always been. They were not trying to one up last year or the church down the street. The service was true to what it has always been and always will be.
Our children are growing up in a world where they broadcast their lives in short bursts of 140 characters, video snippets and selfies. My goal is to teach my kids that you don't have to share every intimate detail of your life. However, when you do put something out in the public view, it better be real. Life is not a contest to see who has the most Instagram followers. Don't pretend to be someone or something you are not. In everything you do whether it's sports, school or just being a friend, be honest, true, and authentic.