Then the remnant of Jacob, surrounded by many peoples, shall be like dew from the Lord, like showers on the grass, which do not depend upon people or wait for any mortal. And among the nations, the remnant of Jacob, surrounded by many peoples, shall be like a lion among the animals of the forest, like a young lion among the flocks of sheep, which, when it goes through, treads down and tears in pieces, with no one to deliver. Your hand shall be lifted up over your adversaries, and all your enemies shall be cut off. On that day, says the Lord, I will cut off your horses from among you and will destroy your chariots; and I will cut off the cities of your land and throw down all your strongholds; and I will cut off sorceries from your hand, and you shall have no more soothsayers; and I will cut off your images and your pillars from among you, and you shall bow down no more to the work of your hands; and I will uproot your sacred poles from among you and destroy your towns. And in anger and wrath I will execute vengeance on the nations that did not obey.
In an attempt to answer a question I am asked with surprising frequency, I recently typed into Google, what happens when The Queen dies? to find out whether the school I work in would be closed when HM’s death is announced. One news article gave extensive details of the ceremony and pageantry of the first ten days following her death. What I most remember from it, though, was a single sentence: ‘“The whole world is going to be doing this,” said one news executive, holding up his phone in front of his face.’ (Knight, 2017). Sadly, that strikes me as a very real possibility as we often view the world through a tiny screen measuring only a few square inches.
Like Israel, we have many calls on our time and most of them emanate from these magic little boxes we carry everywhere. Contained within my phone are my diary, bank, correspondence, photo album, television, address book, music collection, a few books, and every piece of work or sermon I have produced in the last few years. And, of course, I use my mobile for daily Bible study and devotions. It is quite common to find that large blocks of time have passed when the phone was only picked up to quickly check a fact on the internet or reply to a text. How did this come about when my original intention, back in 2001, had been to have a mobile to make emergency calls?
Sitting now, watching people walk past with their phones, it is easy to picture us as ancient Israelites bowing down to the work of our hands. Will we need to have our mobiles cut off from among us too?
Knight, S. 2017 ‘’London Bridge is down’: the secret plan for the days after the Queen’s death’, The Guardian, 17 March. Available here
Lord God, like your children of Israel nearly three thousand years ago, we are enthralled by human works. Help us to lower the barrier formed by these idols so that we can approach you with a keener interest in your wondrous creation, your guiding Word and your Holy Spirit. Amen
Helen Wilson, Local Preacher, South East Northumberland Ecumenical Area.