Grass on the rooftops

Studies show cell phones, amidst other social media devices, created with intentions of enhancing social structure, are instead altering social behavior in counter intuitive ways.

Friends remain on their phones when together. Answering either a text or a ringing phone at dinner, or in a meeting, is less likely to be viewed as an interruption than compared to five years ago. Phones created with the intention of fostering communication now seem to be furthering qualities of poor communication, or in some cases, no communication at all.

Upon reading a piece by Jill Carattini I was made aware one major company has introduced what it refers to an added "functionality" for their subscribers: a service to enable bailing out on a date. Subscribers arrange for their cell phone to be contacted at an arranged time. The call then guides the subscriber through an automated "escape script" allowing the person to talk their way out of being with the unsuspecting person across the table. The evening comes to a sudden end in order for the subscriber to dash off to look after an urgent issue. Now, if the date is going well, the call is simply not answered.

Psalm 129:6-7 comes to mind upon reading of the “emerging functionalities" which enter our lives and tear into true functioning. The psalmist is referring to the deceptive, the wicked, to those who work against God. Crying out to God the psalmist asks:

“Let them be like grass on the rooftops that withers before it grows up, with which reapers do not fill their hands or binders of sheaves their arms.”

In the crevices of the flat roofs of mideast houses grass springs up, seeming almost to boast about its heightened position in rebellious places. Like the tufts of grass that seem to tirelessly fight back to own a place in the cracks of our sidewalks and driveways, grass on the rooftop stubbornly declares its existence and demands our attention.

Will the intolerance that endlessly springs forth in the cracks of curbs, driveways, sidewalks of society ever cease? Will persecution and wickedness that grows like weeds not be stopped? The psalmist's colorful description reminds us that it will not.

But in the image of grass upon a roof the psalmist wisely bids us to see more.

In the words of Alexandre Dumas in the mouth of Edmond Dantes, the Count of Monte Cristo, "Until the day comes when God will deign to reveal the future to [hu]man[ity], all human wisdom is contained in these words: Wait and hope!"

The weeds of judgmental hatefulness and intolerance will remain, but like grass on a rooftop it will never be grass growing as intended, or even as it might hope. Communication offered through alibi clubs and escape scripts is not communication, and eventually will collapse under its own deceitful weight.

Grass on a rooftop cannot fill the reaper’s hands nor can it fill the gatherer’s arms. It may boast in its rebellious standing, but having shallow roots and nowhere to grow, it cannot endure. It bears no fulfillment, nothing to cut or to carry, nothing for the hand to grasp, nothing that will last.

So, indeed, may those who work against the kingdom of God and life as the Lord intended be like grass on a rooftop.  

Rev. Colby