The Word, the birthday card and the website
My first birthday card today showed God on His throne telling a ministering angel: “But I’m omnipresent”. The angel is replying (no doubt respectfully): “Apparently it’s not enough anymore – nowadays you’ve got to have a website as well!” It couldn’t have been more appropriate really, considering that today the Jesuits in Britain launch their new website.
The humorous message on my birthday card is asking some pretty basic questions for the 21st century and certainly ones that the younger generation might legitimately ask: how did we ever manage before the internet? How was it possible to communicate before we had emails and texting and instant messages and social media? Indeed, we could go back even further and ask how communication was possible before the printed word – or even the written word.
A wise man who worked in Christian media once remarked – with a mournful tone in his voice: “The Word was made flesh – and for 2,000 years we’ve been turning Him back into words!” That nugget of wisdom has often encouraged me as I’ve struggled with technology or cursed my computer or fumed that my internet connection is so slow. God is the ultimate communicator – and Christ is “the Perfect Communicator” (Communio et Progressio 11). Mankind might have used human intelligence to develop modern technology, but God knew that human relationships – giving flesh to the Word – are the supreme method for bringing people together and for providing a bridge between God and humankind.
The Word was made flesh – without a website. Or a mobile phone. Or an email address. But the mass media – from the printing press to broadcasting and from the worldwide web to satellite communication – have rightly been called ‘gifts of God’ by successive popes. Ultimately, they are the tools that enable us as human beings to communicate with each other these days, to send and receive messages of hope, love and consolation – or indeed, of hatred, despair and desolation. The relationships that we have – with each other and between ourselves and our Creator God – are the ultimate form of communication. But websites like this are the incredible mechanisms through which we are able to be heralds of the Good News to the modern generation.
The image is titled God's website. It was designed by Judy Horacek.