“Fake News! It’s all Fake News,” comes the reply to another barrage of questions by journalists eager for an answer to the story of the day. Whether ‘Fake News,’ as an answer, is simply being given in an attempt to deflect the media interrogation of a particular issue in the headlines, or it’s genuinely something that has been manufactured in order to cause chaos and a media frenzy is now a real question, more than perhaps it has ever been in the past. Social media and internet companies are spending millions of dollars on devising ways to try and sort fact from fiction when it comes to posts on their on-line platforms in order that we might be given a clearer answer to our need to know what is going on in the world around us.
Our Lenten Study reading for today tells of John the Baptist, who is incarcerated by Herod, sending some of his disciples to go and question Jesus about what he had heard Jesus was doing. Was it true, were these stories real or was it Fake News? Were the extraordinary tales of healings and miracles true, or just a good PR spin on an otherwise normal event? Was Jesus really the Messiah, the one whose coming was foretold and whom Israel was eager to receive? Note how Jesus replies to the question. He doesn’t rely on words alone, but points the disciples to the outcome of his presence, “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the good news is preached to the poor.” Jesus was echoing the words of Hebrew scripture from the prophets, but was also saying that the evidence is clear to those who care to look. Indeed the actions sometimes speak louder than the words used.
That is true today as well, and not just in terms of the news of the day, but in relation to our own lives and witness. It is often easy to say that we following the teachings of Jesus and seek to be good Christian men and women, but do our actions back that up? Is the evidence there to support the claims we make, or do we betray our real self by saying one thing and doing another? Sadly it is all too true of politicians and others that what they claim to be their position on something, or their belief, is shown to be just hollow words as they are seen to act in totally the opposite way. Yet we too can be guilty of the same thing. What is definitely not ‘Fake News,’ are the claims and dependability of Jesus to back up words with action. As we continue through Lent and through self-examination uncover the issues that may cloud our lives, we can be certain of the love of Christ that seeks to forgive our foolish ways and our self-deception so that we may find the real truth to living.
Perhaps this could be your prayer this week?
Loving God, as I acknowledge your presence in this prayer, I know that there are times when I am not the person you want me to be, I am not the person I long to be. Help me to better order my life so that my words and actions may always be acceptable in your sight. Amen.
Shalom to you my friend,