Many have written about the ways in which social media can be a “bubble”:
We only put part of our lives online, so we usually only see the best of people’s lives.
The way the algorithms of various platforms work means we are most likely to hear from people with whom we agree.
Bad news can spread quickly, and our social media feeds can be overwhelmed with things that are angry or sad.
This bubble is one reason that people choose not to participate in online conversation. But what if—together—we burst the bubble this month? What if the church could show the world a different way to talk to one another?
Imagine turning all our social media into channels of gratitude and hope. Paul calls us to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). The month of November always strikes me as the perfect time to renew this practice in my life.
There isn’t a liturgical season of “thanksgiving.” We go from the season after Pentecost, through All Saints and Christ the King, and straight into Advent. But in the rest of our lives, our attention turns toward giving thanks when November begins.
As you use social media this month, I invite you to share your gratitude with the world. Each day, make a post about what you are grateful for and tag it #ELCAGivesThanks.
It could be:
A photo of a something you saw during the day.
A description of a moment you experienced.
A link to a story you read that made you grateful.
The practice of a gratitude journal is helpful because it focuses our attention on the things that we are most grateful for—it opens our eyes to the blessings God gives us every day. But instead of writing something down just for ourselves, we can use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat to share our gratitude with the world.
Moving the practice online opens it up to all the people with whom we are connected. As others see our gratitude, they’re likely to begin thinking about what they are grateful for also. The gratitude we share becomes contagious.
Let’s burst the bubbles we live in and open our eyes to see the blessings of God all around us.
Friends, I give thanks for you. #ELCAGivesThanks.