I just returned from Washington D.C. I’d traveled 12- hours Wednesday 06JAN21 from Northern Michigan on a cramped bus in order to voice concerns about election integrity. The morning held a magnificent gathering that stretched from the White House to the Washington Monument. But then, mid-day a group of people violently smashed into the US Capitol Building. A woman protester was shot dead and a police officer died. This violence was prompted by just a tiny portion of the people on the Mall that day — but the violence naturally seemed to steal the focus away from our point in being there to advocate for an investigation and discussion about the presidential election. What now?
Like many, social media had become a become part a big part of my life, my messaging. This particular event in DC sent Soc-Med spinning as out of control as the riots of 2020-21 had done physically. It was like a riot of Social Media forces. The impulse was to ramp up. It forced me to engage in ways I’d never imagined – and reach out to my many remote friends to/for comment. In a conversation with a family member about my trip, feelings were deeply hurt and the relationship fractured.
I was shaken. Literally.
However, in the next few days, I started to feel a natural pull away from the draw social media had on my life. Partially because people were either leaving or being pushed off some of my favorite sites,… but also because of a conscious lifting of myself away from it. I worried that I was making a religion of politics; having other gods. Something just did not feel right, either in the media accounts or my own reactions. It sent me searching for inspiration…for healing.
I woke very early Sunday. Sitting in my kitchen waiting for the water to boil and the heat to come on, I grabbed the paperback Bible I keep handy at my chair. Opening it spontaneously, I saw in the Book of Job:
Job 4:3-17 Behold, thou has instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands. Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees. But now it is come upon thee and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled. Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope, and the uprightness of thy ways? Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off? Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same. By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed. [It continues] Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof. In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men. Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. Then a spirit passed before my face: the hair of my flesh stood up: It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying,
Shall a mortal man be more just then God? Shall a man be more pure than his maker?
[Answer that one!]
Job 33:8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.
Job 37:24 Remember that thou magnify his work, which men behold. Every man may see it; man may behold it afar off.
Reading these passages, it humbled me. I realized that the role I had taken on as Chief Informer – aka ‘Know it All’… was in fact, misinformed; Ego driven. While I appreciated that these very passages mirrored what I felt I had been doing… I had to step back and affirm that God is the all-knowing, that ‘All communication is from God’ as Mary Baker Eddy has written. A-L-L communication. I had to know that God’s message IS going out into the world. Also, I had to see that God takes care of us — ALL OF US — as a nation; as a world. This helped!
I could now look back and see that even that the DC trip had expressed so much good, including prayer and a turning to God. I met so many wonderful folk. People were coming to understand Christ by seeing how it was being lived; the very atmosphere there was remarkable; noteworthy. Our bus had many faithful who’d prayed together setting off –and immediately sung together ‘The Doxology’ upon hearing of the violence before heading for home. We were all aghast at the violent actions of some. Yet we were protected. Not one of our group was tempted to enter the Capitol Building. When cell made communication impossible to reach everyone, they naturally gravitated to safety on the bus. I don’t think anyone regretted going. I was and am, grateful for all of that!
I know I won’t be a social media asethete in the future, BUT I appreciate a better way to take in communication and to listen more closely to what God is saying.
As found on the opening page of the Christian Science Hymnal
Be Thou oh God exhaulted high,
And as Thy glory fills the sky,
So let it be on earth displayed,
Till Thou are here and now obeyed.
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him, all creatures here below,
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host,
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
*the bus trip to Washington DC was independently organized and comprised of a mix of people, some faithful, some nonbelievers. I don’t mean to suggest it was a group of Christian Scientists.