Earlier this week my sister texted me about a shark attack on kayakers in the Boston Harbor. We’re planning a trip that direction and the idea of kayaking had came up. I expressed disbelief about the attack and her immediate response was a decisive “Google it.”
“Google it” – the natural response to the vast majority of life’s questions. Need a distance calculator ? Google it. Need a state capitol ? Google it. Need some facts to back up a report ? Google them. But things can get a little darker, too. We can Google shark attacks. We can Google images of human suffering, words of slander, how-to guides on how to hurt others. We can become armchair experts in nastiness, paranoia, and despair. While the ease of Google makes finding trouble convenient, Google certainly isn’t the problem. The problem seems to be our fascination with finding out how bad it can get; our human bend towards seeking and reveling in another’s pain. The problem is our desire to be the ones who were right about bad things happening, instead of seeking or making good things.
In the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, God is giving some exhortations to the Israelites as they get ready to begin a new chapter together as God’s people. God tells them they have two choices facing them, “I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. Choose life…” (Chapter 30). We seem to think we are the first round of humanity that has had difficult choices to make, and consequentially we end up making bad choices or no choices at all. We move in a fugue state in some kind of over-choice paralysis, absorbing the shockwaves of fear and pain that come our way.
However, we have agency, we have power to make choices. This has been given to us by God. We can choose to act, live, and even Google in ways that reflect the abundant life we have set before us. Use your loudest voice to proclaim God’s invitation towards life, and boldly walk in God’s love this week.
–Amy Diller, pastor-in-residency