Viewpoint from Margaret Bazely 15/10/10
Great Yarmouth College.
(Methodist Local Preacher in training Norwich Circuit)
Despite the ‘aggressive atheism
’ Pope Benedict perceives in Britain, the younger generation are by all accounts remarkably God-fearing. Hardly a text message or facebook entry appears without the cypher ‘OMG’
. Yes, it seems ‘Oh, my God!’ has become so commonplace a phrase it has passed into textspeak.
OMG M8, I’ve got a massive hangover!
OMG I’m TTLY wrecked …
TMB so I can be OOTO when the BIB
OMG he’s here!*
While many of us might wince, has God’s name ever come so readily to lips or finger tips? How do Christians respond to an ‘ohmygod generation’ ? Mutter something about ‘taking the Lord’s name in vain’, quote Christ’s warning ‘...not all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved’?
During Paul’s missionary encounter with the Athenian people he discovered a religious pluralism so scrupulous that the city overflowed with idols and images; so anxious to cover all religious bases it dedicated an extra altar ‘to an Unknown God’.
Despite being labelled an ‘ignorant show-off’ purveying foreign propaganda Paul didn’t retaliate with condemnation. He set about conversing with local worshippers, passers-by and academics. When his experience of a resurrected Christ reached the city fathers it aroused curiosity. He introduced them to the One to whom they had, in ignorance, dedicated their stonework, One they revered without knowing. He told of God’s desire to be sought and found. He quoted writers who sensed ‘…the One in whom we live and move and have our being’ and poets who instinctively discerned one Divine Parent of all.
The Athenians collected idols but ignored the One they secretly sensed around and within them. Today, when we spend hours plugged into i-pods and mobile phones, I wonder what we are we trying to drown out by heaping technological distractions around us? Is there some pressing awareness we fear? The voices of our thoughts, our uneasy consciences, our inmost selves? Or is our preference for background noise evidence of a deeply felt isolation, a gnawing need for connectedness? Are we a generation that repeatedly calls out a name but never has a conversation?
From God’s viewpoint I wonder what it’s like to have one’s name used as a sentence filler, constantly called but routinely ignored? What if one day God were to reply ‘FYI I’m here….’ ?
I would love to make a bid for a little more silence and a little more listening in our noise-filled world. What would happen if those of us peppering messages with OMG waited to hear God’s reply? IMHO and my experience, all who genuinely call out to God will find an answer waiting. All who want to hear from God have only to listen long enough to hear Him speak. After all He is nearer to us than breathing.
* M8 – Mate; TTLY – totally; TMB – text me back; OOTO – out of the office; BIB - the boss is back; K, SLAP - OK, that sounds like a plan; FYI- for your information; IMHO in my humble opinion.