You know what? Living in the 21st century may not be all that great. Yes, you read that right.
Oh sure, we have amazing gadgets and gizmos and services these days.
Those spiffy smartphones are pretty incredible. We can have a talking map tell us exactly how to get to any destination, wow. Just enter the location and off you go.
You can do your banking just by punching the screen a few times. And pay for items at the store just by waving your phone or smartwatch. Fantastic.
You can talk to a small device and it will turn on the lights in your house, order you a pizza or flowers, check the weather, call anyone, or search for information that you desire. Gonzos.
But there is another side here...
With your smartphone you can essentially be tracked anywhere you go. Anywhere. Some official person at a computer can keep tabs on you at all times.
Video cameras are darn near everywhere these days. That means you’re always being watched by someone. And if you have a smart TV with a webcam, some enterprising hacker can activate that camera and watch you watching TV - or whatever you do in your living room. That should make you think...
Self driving vehicles? Unbelievable. Sometime soon we won’t need taxi drivers, truck drivers, maybe even delivery drivers. Companies could use flying drones to deliver items to your doorstep. How about that?
Yeah, how about that? What happens when those hackers get into driving computer systems and decide to take you down a wrong road - figuratively and literally. Feel comfortable flying down the highway surrounded by machines that are just people and cargo carriers? No humans in charge?
Our 21st century politics seem to be going in all directions at once and no one agrees. There’s fake news, biased news, and our President can tweet at all hours on whatever spouting he wants to do.
Balanced coverage? Nah, too boring. Both sides now throw out biased red meat 24 hours a day and the masses gorge on it.
A two bit tyrant in a backwater country somehow has nuclear weapons now and missiles to deliver them. He’s quietly backed by the world’s largest nation who would love nothing better than to take our country down a few notches. You fill in the nation - yeah, it’s both of them.
Freedom and liberty? Depends how you see it. A caravan of around 1,000 migrants is heading up through Mexico on its way to our southern border where they’ll probably walk right across. Our officials will try to apprehend them and the whole illegal immigration debate starts again.
We could keep going - the fear of genetically modified foods, the shocking lack of water in some places, climate change, overpopulation, the extinction of some animal species, growing opioid and drug addiction. And on and on and on...
The 21st century. Going by at dizzying speeds, won’t slow down, seemingly out of control.
And we’re told the machines will be taking over in a few decades. Wonderful.
From our Easter service this Sunday at Grace Church, there came this line as an introduction to the weekly offering...
“When you’re not sure what to believe, when you cannot fully believe what you have seen, God appears. Let us reach out to our God. Let us open our hearts. Let us give our gifts.”
Have faith - there is hope for the 21st century. But it won’t be in gadgets, gizmos and technology. It won’t be from tough talking, blowhard, overpromising politicians of any stripe.
Instead our hope for the future is where it’s always been - in Him.
There are too many things today that we simply can’t believe. Fake news IS out there - some people today feel the need to make up news or shape how we view it in order to drive an agenda. Every day. For them it’s more important to attack than to solve problems. Unbelievable but true.
Will the gadgets and gizmos eventually take over our lives? Or more accurately, the people who control the gadgets and gizmos? As recent hacking incidents have shown, or from deadly accidents involving self driving vehicles, it wouldn’t be that hard.
And pompous politicians? Well, let’s move on...
What should we believe? How do you react when you struggle to believe what you’ve seen?
That’s when God appears.
It could be through readings from scripture. Or a well timed scene from nature. Or a snowball.
But there’s the second line of the church reading above that needs more attention...
Let us reach out to God. Let’s open our hearts. Let’s give our gifts.
Why are those so difficult for most folks to do?
Just three simple tasks...
Reach out to God. Through prayer, through worship, through faith.
Open our hearts. Help others. See another point of view, even if you don’t agree with it.
Give our gifts. That’s not just money. At Grace we found out through our recent spiritual gifts survey that everyone has something to offer. Everyone. And we really need everyone to offer.
It’s easy to despair for the future. Doom and gloom. No hope.
But there’s always been hope. It’s always been there.
Let’s reach out to God. Let’s open our hearts. Let’s give our gifts.
That’s when God appears...
From George Churchgoer