Cyndi and I try to catch 30 minutes of national and world news each night. Without fail the anchor begins with some form of “Breaking news!” The words and tone of voice aim to build tension. Hopefully, to bring us to the edge of our seats and keep us there through the commercial breaks. By the time the news stories are completed I’m exhausted. The tension builds both out of the media expert’s abilities and the intentional suggestions that aim to prick at fears that are ripe and already infested with enough fear to cause any of us to lock our doors, pull the shades and hide in the closet.
As I was reading a book about the effect that technology, including television has on our perceptions, I was reminded of something that is scarier than anything the news can throw at us.* We are the one’s that we are waiting for. We are the one’s that God has seen fit to call together, to equip us with scriptural insight and inspiration, and to tell others that whatever is in the daily news, whatever obstacle, problem, loss or danger might be lurking around the next corner, God is with us in Jesus Christ. Not just in ancient stories that we read in our bibles and leave on the shelf. No – it is not the bible itself that is the medium that can transform. We are. We are the medium. We are the ones God has seen fit to create and send out with the most important of all news.
Shane Hipps writes about how God is not silent on technology but uses whatever medium is effective to communicate with humanity. God spoke directly to Abraham to get the message across that his descendants would be called upon to be an example to others for what faith looks like. God used a burning bush as a medium to make sure that Moses realized that God is both mystery and power. God used stone tablets as a medium to tell the Hebrew slaves just how important and how permanent God’s commandments are. And God used a helpless baby as the medium to reveal that our God is a God of love, peace and life. And God uses the people of the church as God’s medium to the world to carry the message of good news for all creation. We are God’s iPhone, God’s projection screen, God’s voice and hands and feet. We were created to be God’s medium.
So what could be scarier than a bunch of scared souls, frightened by the possibility that there may not be enough of whatever we think we need to survive to go around, who are nevertheless entrusted with the message of saving grace? We are the daily news and we broadcast with every word that comes out of our lips. We broadcast with every action that we take. We broadcast on behalf of Jesus Christ each time we give a thirsty body something to drink…we broadcast each time we hand a hungry person something to eat…we speak on behalf of Jesus Christ each time we give clothing to someone who has none…a coat to someone who is cold…each time we visit someone who is sick or in prison. We are both messengers and God’s message of grace.
But we also broadcast what we think of God’s message when we storm out of a meeting because we disagree or our feelings are hurt…when we sew seeds of descension in hallways and parking lots and with phone calls. We broadcast what we hold to be true when we try to tear down rather than build up and edify our local church. This should scare us more than anything we could ever hear on the nightly news. We are the medium. But we are also the message. We deliver a message in every act of love and in every act of hate. We are the good…we are the bad. Whether you feel worthy or not, whether you accept the responsibility or not, whether you feel up to the challenge or not, you are still the medium through which God speaks to a broken world, and you are also the message. What message do your actions say about your faith and the God or gods you serve?
* Flickering Pixels – How Technology Shapes Your Faith by Shane Hipps.