I used to enjoy visiting to Facebook, to see what my friends were up to. I’d see pictures of their kids, their pets, their vacation spots — and the occasional news article, opinion piece, or quote that they found interesting or inspiring. Social media was a new-fangled way to keep in touch, the way that an afternoon chat was for grown-ups when I was a little girl.
These days, if I’m lucky, I still see a few pictures of babies and teens that make me smile, but more often I see pictures of powerful white men that wipe that smile off my face. I read articles about proposed legislation that provoke me into sending political 911s to my elected officials — something bad is going to happen if you don’t stop it!
Yes, I know that I could add filters to my newsfeed — a few keywords would definitely change the tone of what I see. But I want Facebook to help me stay in touch with my friends and what they care about — whether they are happy or excited, or outraged or frightened. These are my friends. Friends share. Friends listen. Friends respond.
So what is my response? I pray “out loud” daily, posting quotes from the Book of Common Prayer, or its older cousin, the Campaign Prayer Book. With everything going on, prayer seems like the right response. After all, I go to church to pray with other parishioners. Why not pray with friends and family online?
When America’s prestige, power, and glory are under assault, let’s remember that the Lord’s Prayer ends “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.” If someone is all about power and glory for themselves, or even claims it for “us”, we are right to question their motives and their goals.
When America’s leadership and government use language and laws to assault us and incite hatred among us, let’s remember Jesus’ words from Matthew, highlighted in the Prayer Book,
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
A few years ago, it became difficult to stay engaged on Facebook, to stay engaged with the world, but once I started praying, it became easier. Prayers are the touchstone to my values, an outlet for the angst, and a vehicle of hope, since “for God all things are possible.” Bringing God into Facebook changed everything.