August 17, 2010

Tweets, Memories and Prayer

Editor's note: Brenda Finkle (@brendafinkle) recounts an experience that gave her a glimpse of exactly how powerful so-called random tweets could be in someone else's life. We'd love to know about similar experiences you may have had. Please add them via the comments or consider sending a longer post to

We’re living and participating in a new virtual world. Ever wonder how many people actually read what you launch into cyberspace? Ever wonder, “is anyone actually reading what I tweet?” I do!

Sometimes I’ll get responses to my tweets but mostly it’s me ─ tweeting random thoughts, hopes, questions. Sometimes there are long stretches of silence because I have nothing to add to the never-ending Twitterstream of thought. But, always intertwined throughout my tweets are verses of scripture and prayer via The Virtual Abbey.

Flash back a year: I was sitting in a meeting talking about advertising with a sales rep and toward the end of the conversation, mentioned social media. What was their company's vision for using social media? Our conversation continued, then the sales rep got very quiet and told me the most amazing story.

As a child, the sales rep was read passages from scripture every day by a faithful mother. The story stopped as tears gathered in the eyes of the young adult in my office who glanced up and held my gaze. Now the only scripture encountered came from the Virtual Abbey through my Twitter feed. Those re-tweets, I was told, recalled memories of quiet, deeply personal times.

Humbled. Happy. Blessed. These are just some of the emotions I felt while listening to what had been, after all, a casual business acquaintance.

The power of 140 characters. The power of God working through us to reach people where they are to meet their needs, to touch them with love, to offer hope where sometimes there is none. That afternoon’s experience taught me to trust the power of sharing the Daily Office via social media.

Image: Madonna with the Child Reading, Jan Van Eyck (15th c.)


Cura Animarum said...

I honestly believe that the advent of social media communications presents a huge opportunity for sharing faith and connecting us as a global community in deeply meaningful concern and challenge is how to encourage more parish members, leaders and clergy to embrace the technology effectively.

Stories like this really help!

Linda Lou said...

Virtual_ Abbey has been a small slice of heaven for me.It is a respite from the busy life I have as a caretaker and also work full time as a pre-school teacher. Thank you for being here you are such a Blessing to me and so many others!

Meredith Gould said...

We are grateful for your support and participation.

Ruth said...

I'm so glad you wrote this, Brenda. The spiritual connections that happen between people via online prayer may seem momentary, but that's illusory. They can make an eternal difference in someone's life.

Brenda Finkle said...

Thank you for the comments. I couldn't agree more with your observations. We're grateful you're part of our online community.

I am always surprised by the numbers of people who still look at me like I've lost my mind~(just short of rolling their eyes) when I tell the Virtual Abbey story. However, once I share the network of friends and support that is offered via our tweet stream those looks of "give me a break" turn slowly thoughtful. Sharing our stories of connection, healing and outreach is incredibly powerful.

I truly believe we will never know the impact of our prayers on a global basis. God knows, and that's enough for me.

What I do know is I'm eternally grateful for the love, support and friendships I've developed via the Virtual Abbey. Not for one second forgetting the unlimited opportunity to share Christ with others with each 140 word message.

So blessed to know you and count you as friends.

Janet L. Bohren said...

I follow virtual abbey tweets every morning and evening and encourage members of my PC(USA) church to do so. I post selected virtual abbey tweets on the church FB page sometimes. I suggest people follow you in my web-surfin' columns for our church newsletter. I find virtual_abbey wonderfully calming at night and a beautiful way to start the day. Thanks for the tweets.