Scott lived alone in a beautiful penthouse apartment in Boston’s Back Bay District. His generous 4,500 square feet duplex apartment overlooked a little private park and from one one his balconies he could see the river. For the last six years, Scott hadn’t set foot outside of his apartment.
Every morning he read the papers, checked his Twitter and his stocks and wrote a to-do list. As he sipped on some fresh coffee from his perch on an east-facing balcony, his mind lingered around the events of 3 August, 2006 – his 18th birthday. It had also been the last day he had strolled on the sidewalks of the city. A tragic boating accident had claimed the lives of his parents when Scott was a seven-year-old boy. After the accident he lived with his aunt and her family until he inherited the estate of his parents. Before his death, his father had been a wealthy IT consultant and early app creator, who, at the time of his passing, was worth a cool $75 million.
On his 18th birthday Scott visited his attorney, and 20 minutes later, the estate of his parents was signed over into his care. After a birthday party with his aunts, uncles and a select group of friends, he returned to the Back Bay and turned the key on his old family apartment.
His decision to live within the confines of the apartment, and thus become an urban legend, wasn’t an immediate decision. Scott was caught in the perfect storm of an alarming paralysis due to the apparent danger of the world and the joyous convenience of modern-day living. As his friends set off for college, Scott transformed his apartment into his own self-contained world. He had enough money to last a number of lifetimes, so he set his sights on finding satisfaction for his soul, gaining achievement through online degrees and becoming a man of knowledge.
He read the finest selection of literature; from Kant to Kipling, Homer to Harry Potter – he wanted to see what all the hype was about. As Scott stepped into adulthood he consumed the important religious books of the world and studied for an online degree course. He exercised for two hours a day in his home gym. He was content. Yet he was fearful. Through his reading, research and the news reports he watched, he grew ever fearful of the world ‘out there’.
He lived his life through endless hours of online experience. He absorbed, consumed and was driven through online encounters and opportunities. Searching through countless blogs he found out that he was something of an online myth, a wealthy geeky Chuck Norris, if you will. Yet he was mystified that so many people felt as if they knew him. They wrote so many things about him, yet no one had ever encountered him.
An urge to travel rose in his soul.
Yet he was kept from seeing distant lands by a fear of things beyond his control. Airport delays, sinking ships, car bombs, kidnappings, dodgy clips on money belts and food poisoning were just some of the things that kept him from travelling the world.
So he found another way; a way to experience the world at a safe distance. On the nights he ordered Italian food, he projected a live webcam feed of the Colosseum onto his living room wall. He did the same as he ate his way round the sights and sounds of the rest of the known and projectable world.
Yet he knew something in his webcam tour of the world wasn’t right. Scott threw himself into research and, methodical as always, drew up an itinerary, booked his tickets and crammed a travel backpack with clothes and helpful gadgets.
He realised that travel, as a concept, was a fascinating idea, but travelling, feeling, touching and experiencing a foreign land in human flesh would transform his soul.
God, as a concept, is a fascinating idea.
Yet experiencing the reality of God, the nearness of Jesus and the comfort of the Holy Spirit, is an even better idea.
Jesus dwells in us as the hope of glory, the Saviour of the world, the lover of our soul, the restorer and redeemer of our human experience. In our desire to live our lives, let’s never forget the Jesus didn’t look on the world, but that he came to the world and experienced life in the flesh, feeling our pain, laughing, loving, weeping and exploring the depths of human experience.
It’s always better in the flesh.
The incarnation was and is so important.