"Though I have many things to write to you, I do not want to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, so that your joy may be made full. The children of your chosen sister greet you." (2 John 12-13)While being a simple closing to his letter, there are several things we can glean from his words.
First is the importance of the human touch. Increasingly we live in an electronic age where much of our communications is done without any direct contact with the other person. Even this blog is a form of that. I communicate with most of my readers whom I've never met and whom I will most likely never meet. Texts, e-mails, and instant messages, while promising to make us a connected society, have, in many ways, made us more alone and isolated than before. The very thing that connects us also isolates us from personal contact. Sometimes we must put down the technology and actually have a conversation with someone face-to-face.
Secondly, some things are best done in person. Our technology has made it easier and quicker to communicate with each other, but it has not made it any easier to understand each other, in fact, in someways, it has made it worse. It is almost impossible to read someone's emotions when reading an e-mail. A text conveys no sense of body language or expression. Such mediums of communications can easily lead to misunderstandings and false assumptions. Sometimes it's best to communicate in person where the other person can see your face, hear your emotion, and be reassured of your love for them.
Thirdly, John was not one to meddle. While there were things he wanted to say, he felt no compulsion to say them. There was no burning passion to say all he had to say and to fix all there had to be fixed. Yes, somethings needed to be said, but they could wait until the time and situation was right. He could love them without feeling the need to meddle in their lives.
Lastly, John's authority in the church was not only apostolic but also relational. He could have command them to do what they needed to do but he didn't trade in authority but rather relationships. When the time was right, and he was with them, he could tell them what they needed to hear and he was confident in their obedience, not because of his authority, but because of their relationship and mutual love one for another.
The church is nothing without relationships, or, as Paul put it, without love, we are nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:3) There is more I could say about the church, but maybe the next time we are together.