I feel as if I’m still in cold turkey as I haven’t come to terms with my withdrawal symptoms yet. First thing in the morning and last thing at night I now feel lost, alone and isolated. I hadn’t realised how much it had become a crutch, a link I depended on to keep me informed and in touch with the outside world, or in touch with what was happening on the tablet or phone of the person sitting next to me.
Of course I’m talking about Facebook and the arena of social media by which means we can keep in contact with our family and friends without every talking to them face to face. So I’ve decided to go off Facebook for Lent which is more difficult than it sounds especially when you’re nosey like me. Over the last number of years I have become accustomed to checking profiles and news streams as I kept track of people’s lives. You don’t need reality TV when you can enjoy the spectacle of friends’ random posts.
Social media seems to be governed by its own laws, rules and social customs. Generally it’s accepted that when someone has written up what they have had for breakfast, lunch or dinner or how many breaths they have had in the last minute you’re supposed to click on a wee thumps up sign which means you like what they said. It’s always a source of pride the number of likes you get for a post on Facebook. Although at times the practice can verge on the strange. A person might post ‘my dog was hit by a bus today and tragically killed.’ Or. you could post ‘ house has been repossessed, walked into work to discover I was made redundant, went out into the car and found out I had a flat wheel, only to get a text that my partner has left me.’ Of course after such a personal nightmare and disaster the first thing we do in response to our friend’s changing circumstances is to hit the like button. Your life has been ruined but who cares, you have received over two hundred likes for your post.
We often find ourselves challenged by the ways of the world and it was no different in Jesus’ time. The account Of Jesus’ temptations in the desert reminds all Christians of the struggle involved in remaining faithful to the gospel. Many will measure the kingdom of God in the light of these worldly expectations, with Nation States in mind. Power and authority are grounded on might and the ability to impose your will. Jesus reveals a more fundamental and greater power which will be manifested on the cross. As the Messiah or the ‘Anointed one’ Jesus came to seek out the lost sheep and bring them home. Yet our hearts will only be open to hearing Jesus if we have a proper understanding of God. Jesus through his life and death reveals how God’s power shines forth through powerlessness. Following Jesus’ example we’re asked to trust in God, for true discipleship is being able to lose oneself through self-sacrifice, only then can the desert of the world become the garden of God’s new creation.