“He had five barley loaves and two fish . . . .” – John 6:7
When is it time to be a little selfie? I mean take a little selfie? A selfie is a picture you take of yourself with your own cell phone. Then you put it on social media to broadcast your moment. Your friends “like” it or “comment” on it or “retweet” it.
You become seen. You become known. You become real.
Psychologists tell us that the most powerful experience people can have is to be recognized. In pastoral counseling training, we are told to mirror our conversants. Feed back to them what they just said, so they can hear it and hear themselves saying it. Many say that social conflict can be resolved with an even more sophisticated version of “I hear you saying.” Anti-immigrant voices can often calm down if we say, “I hear you saying that you have deep respect for the law and are troubled by those who seem to be breaking it.” When you pray at the city council after a police incident, be sure to pray for the policeman as well as the victim. Recognize, recognize, recognize. Mirror, mirror, mirror. Show that you are listening.
What was that boy thinking with his barley loaves and a few fish? Was he hoping to be able to contribute to the whole with what he had, small or even paltry, so much smaller than the gulf and gap in his moment? Has it not mattered for centuries that we tell the “un-selfie” story of his sharing as something that matters to us? Do we not see our best selves in him?
O God, when we are looking for ways to manage this day, let us mirror, let us listen, let us recognize each other. And also let us take a selfie. Amen.
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her latest book is Prayers for People Who Say They Can’t Pray.