Saturday, March 8, 2014

Social Media and the Kingdom of God - Part 4 in a series

Pastor Hugh rushed from the dentist's office to meet a group of five high school students. He had noticed they were leaning forward, listening attentively, as he delivered his last message entitled, "The Kingdom of God is Among you." They always sat together, two rows from the front of the church.

He sat down with them at a donut shop. They had lots of homework, so this meeting had to be quick. One said, "Pastor, I don't see how that story of a farmer and his harvest is relevant to our situation at school. Social media has taking over. People spend time texting and sending messages, flirting and many disgusting things are happening with the media. People are using the term 'rape culture' about the university we want to attend."

Another asked. "Where is the 'Kingdom among us' in school? Foul language, spoiled athletes, trash, boredom, bitter words between students, sniffling and laughing....I don't feel like I fit in at all. Lots of times I feel lonely. Never bored, but lots of time, lonely."

A third said, "There's such a gap between what you preach about and what we live through on a daily basis. You speak about heroes from the Bible. The last thing I feel is like I'm being a hero."

"Do you know that spiritual life in Israel seemed to have petered out?" Pastor Hugh asked. "There was this king and he probably outdid the worst guy in your school. After being on the throne for 52 years, he deliberately left the nation distorted, broken and corrupt. He had sex orgies throughout the city; encouraged prostitution around every idol and there were lots of idols. Filth there was way beyond what you've got going on. He made gods out of lust and murder and injustice. He burned his son as an offering to a pagan god."

"So what happened to him?" asked a student, speaking for the first time. He shivered at the thought of a baby being burned on the outstretched arms of a god.

"Manasseh died and his son wasn't any better. Then, along came Manasseh's seven year old grandson. Josiah obeyed God and was willing to go against the flow. He dared to obey the book the old priest, Hilkiah brought to him. He stood up for what God had shown to be true justice. Meaning came back into the lives of people. He raised up the values of the nation as it once had been. It was great, before military calamities befell the people. Josiah encouraged worship and festivities, music and praise once again. Being in a Kingdom means there's a war going on."

There was silence for a while as they munched on chocolate donuts and sipped hot coffee. Around the table, five heads were nodding. Each one was taking in the story. When they heard it in church, it seemed remote, lacking any punch. Now, here on the corner, across from the school building, it took on a whole new meaning."

"Well, got to go," said Pastor Hugh, but the shy boy said, "Would you talk to my older brother? He's been in a real depression for months."


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