A pondering from the Rev. Lynn White


“This world is not so bad a world

     As some would like to make it;

          Though whether good, or whether bad,

  Depends on how we take it.”

The World As It Is by Michael Wentworth Beck

It’s all a matter of perspective isn’t it? Do you see the world in black and white, or grey?

 The world as we know it today, often through the media, is filled with weaponry, both good and bad; substances used both for attack and war and as well as defense and peace. We hear about all types of destruction; guns, nukes, political prisoners, germ warfare, walls. Even the words we use can cut to the bone. “Go back where you came from,” misogynist, belittling and racist words, leave deep scars. We also hear about beauty, peace treaties, negotiations, and attempts to find common ground/good.

 In the July 20th edition of The Economist magazine there was an article about “The poetry of emoji.” It suggests that the internet is revealing the nature of language more than changing it. We are inundated with tweets and pictures that express our feelings in staccato-like, rapid fashion. In fact, humans have used short-hand symbols for as long as we have recorded history. Think of the snake and the red apple, an emoji for temptation; the bread and wine, emoji for body and blood; the hijab, an emoji for modest female Muslim women; the light bulb, an emoji for an idea; or the white flag, an emoji for surrender.

 Early Christians, at a time when they were being persecuted, would be fearful to speak aloud about their beliefs. Instead, in a kind of covert language emoji, they would draw a half circle in the sand, (looking for another Christian). If the individual they met was a Christian as well, he or she would know to draw another half circle making the shape of, not a circle, but a fish, an early Christian symbol/emoji.  

FISH Jesus symbol.jpg

As people of The Word, the poetry of Scripture and symbols of faith (think fish, cross or triangle), the article caught my attention.

 Ecclsiastes 3 begins, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…”  It goes on to say that there is a time to break down, and a time to build up, a time to keep silent and a time to speak, a time for war and a time for peace. What time is it? What time do you have??

 How do you/we take/understand what is happening in the world? Are we spectators, merely reading about what happens around the world, or are we activists, ready to do what we can to make our world a better place? I would agree that there is a time to discontinue something which has been found harmful and no longer meaningful, but I would also suggest that it’s always time to become more kind, good, peaceful, and loving, always time to be open to wonder and to God. On the one hand, the internet is a passive piece of electronics, without soul. On the other, the messages we receive can charge one into reflection and/or action. They can touch our hearts and souls. As Christian people may our perspective always be to see, to take the opportunity to move ever more continuously toward the awareness of God’s presence. Might we each become an emoji for love, and practice making the world more loving and good. 

 To God be the glory