The Online Lament (@JamesPrescott77) #digidisciple

imgres-1The challenge of these Big Bible posts is always to find how what we are learning & studying in scripture relates not only to today’s world, but also how we communicate via social media.

So when I heard this months’ book was Lamentations, I was initially a bit lost. 

This is a book of God’s people crying out to God, praying, in despair at what is happening to them. How could this possibly relate to social media?

But then suddenly, the answer hit me square in the face.

Today we have our own book of Lamentations. We have a space where we cry out – to God, to the world – about the issues which are troubling us, the problems in the world which need solving, the actions of people which are unjust, immoral, or ungodly. Where we share verses and prayers to God for the world, hoping others will join us.

I’m talking of course about social media. Yes, really.

So often I see people on social media, lamenting some piece of bad news, when Fabrice Muamba had a heart attack on a football pitch and was dying, the hashtag went up #PrayForMuamba, and there’ve been countless hashtags and campaigns on social media crying out for prayer for the situation with ISIS, and other desperate situations.

Social media, and twitter in particular, has become an online book of lamentations. Indeed, you could justifyably argue the blogosphere is also one such place.

And this encourages me. It’s important we have these spaces. It’s vital we are free to express our solidarity with those who are suffering, and social media allows us to do this in a very real way, and to offer prayers which people on the other side of the world can hear.

But sometimes, this isn’t enough. Lamentations is full of, well, laments at the suffering of God’s people. But it ends with prayers for what might happen. And occasionally, when we pray for change, this will demand action on our part too.

This action could be as small as a blog post, or it could be as big travelling abroad to serve in a hospital fighting ebola. It could be sharing something on social media or a blog which might upset a few people, but would be in the cause of right.

So let us make full use of our book of lamentations. Use social media as a space to lament all which is wrong and how God’s shalom for the world is being disrupted. And a space to offer prayers and encouragement to those in need.

But let it also be a spur to action. Let us allow space for our laments and prayers to lead us into following through and taking action, whether big or small.

As even what we may see as small actions, such as a tweet, or a blog post, can have a huge difference.

Which means all of us have the power to change the world. So let’s steward it well.

About James P

James Prescott (@JamesPrescott77) is a writer & creative living in Sutton, near London in the UK. He blogs regularly at www.jamesprescott.co.uk on issues concerning social media, gender and the divine journey of life. Follow him on Twitter at @JamesPrescott77