‘You are exceeding the speed limit!” This warning from the GPS app on my friend’s cell phone broke our quiet reverie as we traveled through a residential section around Stone Mountain.
After a pause it struck me as to how sophisticated these tracking devices had become. Not only did the GPS know exactly where we were, but it also knew what the speed limit signs indicated even though we, apparently, did not.
Someone in the car commented, “In this day and time, you can run, but you can’t hide!” This sparked a conversation, which sustained us well on the remainder of our journey back to Augusta.
“You can run, but you can’t hide” is so true in this current time when privacy is a concept that can no longer be trusted. Our modern society seems to have not only met, but exceeded, the Orwellian culture of 1984 where “Big Brother is watching you!”
Our cell phones can be tracked and computers can be hacked. Edward Snowden has become a controversial household name. His revelation of government mass surveillance programs is stunning and disturbing.
Our identities can be stolen and credit cards and bank accounts emptied. High-resolution mini cameras can be installed in hidden places, and one can watch the kids or the dog from the comfort of a smartphone.
Feeling a little uneasy? Having no privacy is something Christians should be used to! In liturgical churches, each worship service opens with the Collect for Purity: “Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy name through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
This prayer has sound scriptural and theological basis. In Genesis 2:7, God breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life (Spirit), and he became a living being.
Consider Luke 12:7 or Jeremiah 1:5: “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered” and “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.”
If we step back and look at God’s revelation of himself both in scripture and in science, it certainly seems that God is beyond time and space. It certainly seems that God is all-knowing and all-seeing.
So, if God knows our every move, every thought, why doesn’t he do something about it? Well, He did. God gave us free choice, and to temper that awesome gift He gave us Himself in Jesus, and He gave us His ongoing presence in the divine energy of the Holy Spirit – the giver of life.
God is all-knowing, but not all-interfering. He seems to have left that up to us. Faith is a choice. Faith powered by the Holy Spirit instills in us our own personal surveillance system. Some would call that conscience, but I submit that it goes beyond that. With faith we don’t have to “walk before God in righteousness all the days of our life.” We don’t have to love God with all our being and love our neighbor as ourselves; we want to!
Through our faith we have the gift of a divine LPS (Life Positioning System). As we travel the roads of life our Spirit speaks to us: “You are exceeding the speed limit!” All we have to do is listen, and, oh yes, take our foot off the gas.
THE REV. JOE BOWDEN IS ASSISTING PRIEST AT CHURCH OF THE HOLY COMFORTER IN MARTINEZ.