As Easter drew near, I turned to the internet for some cross-referencing of the four gospels in the New Testament comparing each Evangelist’s account of the resurrection. I’m sure I’m not unlike other preachers who find technology a very helpful resource for studying the holy scriptures, commentaries and scholarly reviews, but surely I’m not as passionately attached to the screen of my computer or other devices as some are when I prepare the sermon or the Bible study. But this Easter, Google gave me a new revelation!
I began to type in M-A-T on the Google search bar and up popped Matthew Hurt, not once, not twice, but three times before Matthew in the Bible appeared as the fourth option to search. This was not what I wanted to see — Matthew’s gospel story as No. 4 behind a high school basketball player’s success story!?
Now, I knew all about Matthew Hurt because his name was all over the sports page for his April 19 (Good Friday) signing to play college basketball with the Duke University Blue Devils. No surprise, I like to get my news from the real news source — the newspaper. When I told this story to my daughter she said, “Google doesn’t know you very well.” Correct! I’ve never followed news on the internet, especially not sports news! I read local sports news written by Dan Huss in the Eden Prairie News that you are reading right now and I read regional and national sports news written by Sid Hartmann and all his close personal friends in the Star Tribune newspaper. There’s no way Google could know or imagine I had any interest in Matthew Hurt based on my habits as an internet user!
There’s been nothing but good news to read about 6-foot-9, 200-pound Rochester John Marshall High School Senior Matthew Hurt, especially this year. He was named Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball, was to have received his award at a Minnesota Timberwolves game at Target Center, but he couldn’t be there to accept this highest high school award because he was playing in Atlanta at the McDonald’s All-American Game. His list of college offers included all blue-blood teams . — Kansas, North Carolina and Kentucky — but he chose Duke because it gave him the opportunity to play on that great team with his friend from the well-known Apple Valley basketball family, Tre Jones. What better reason could there be for a five-star recruit, with a 0.9971 composite score, than to base his college selection on a wonderful competitive friendship!
I’ve enjoyed reading everything I could put my eyes on about Matthew Hurt, but the question remains, Why did the internet redirect my search of Matthew’s New Testament Easter gospel account? I’m left pondering social media’s influence on what pops up catching the eye for my reading and yours. Are we all just vulnerable and even gullible enough to be drawn into the feeding frenzy over whatever’s trending or going viral at the moment?
My conclusion: The internet and social media has great power over us for good or ill! The gospel has more power, and it’s all for good!
My hope is that you’ll join me reading the sports page to follow the career of this amazingly gifted young Mr. Basketball’s college career! My greater hope and motivation in writing this column is that you’ll search and research the Gospel good news of the resurrection using the Bible and the internet to cross-reference Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24 and John 20 & 21!
The Rev. Rod Anderson, former pastor at St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie, shares this space with the Rev. Timothy A. Johnson as well as spiritual writers Dr. Bernard E. Johnson, Lauren Carlson-Vohs and Beryl Schewe. “Spiritually Speaking” appears weekly.