Gadgets. I'm not so sure that we completely understand, or ever will totally appreciate, the power that instant access to information exercises over our thoughts and our hearts.
Too much information and we max out or check out. We are not built to know all the crises of the whole world all the time. If our attention is riveted by the problems and pains of situations beyond our control, we might find ourselves more and more concentrating on the negative and the problematic and the dark situations in our own little corner of the world. God, in his tenderness, shows us how to deal with omnipresent news, whether it's world news or the information we find out about friends and family on status updates and tweets. God is not interested in news about us, he is interested in us, just as we are, living through the beautiful and challenging stages of our life. Listening to news with the heart of God develops in us a tenderness that shows compassion in lifegiving ways, because we care about the people being written about. As I was writing, I opened cnn.com to a black screen with photos of the faces of the terrorists in Paris and 110pt bold type blaring the announcement: 3 Terrorists Dead. Under their pictures was the simple word (not their name): DEAD. Then I was invited to see how they were killed, what happened at the standoff, and how they were still hunting down the female accomplice. The format, word choice, color, pictures in the news piece all spoke volumes, and affectively I felt almost as if I had been punched in the stomach. I suppose other reactions might have been possible: relief, gratitude that it was over and the people of Paris could put their lives together again, or even, unfortunately, rejoicing that these individuals "got what they deserved."
As we begin this new year, already awash in news from around the globe of peoples facing challenges and fear, we wonder where the miracle of the Incarnation is today. After the beautiful promise celebrated at Christmas, has it made any difference in our world?
Yes. In the Incarnation God made his own the struggle of the human race to be freed from the enslavement to sin and the waves of death. He came as man, and free from all sin, overcame sin, for he is God. He gave to each person the power to slay sin and to share in the victory of Christ Jesus. It is up to us, each one of us, to correspond to the grace given. The newspaper recounts the day-to-day struggle with evil which has already lost the battle, but which continues to oppress humanity. Should not we be most angry at the one who has spun his webs of deceit and oppression and continues to lead people into darkness and falsehood and error? If we direct our anger in this way, we are more likely to consider with compassion the people caught up in this day-to-day drama on whatever side they fall, compassion for those who suffer at the hands of others, compassion for those left behind to mourn those lost, compassion for today's children growing up in this world....
The New Year will be filled with many miracles, and they will begin in your heart and mine. To support you in your search for tenderness and your commitment to peace, we've put together this play list on Spotify of songs of peace and faith. Peace!