Take notice you senseless ones among the people… Does [the God] who fashioned the ear not hear? Does [the God] who formed the eye not see? – Psalm 94:8-9 (NIV)
My favorite superhero is Spiderman. “Spider-sense” is amazing. Originating as a tingling feeling in the back of Spiderman’s head, spider-sense gives Spiderman the ability to sense the threat of imminent danger and thereby take preemptive action to avoid or rectify calamity. Even under normal conditions, spider-sense enables Spiderman to navigate darkened rooms while instinctively avoiding obstacles and hazards.
Spiders themselves are equipped with astute sensory organs. They sense the slightest movement or vibration through hairs and tiny slits distributed over much of their body. A spider’s sensitivity to threat and danger is finely tuned.
But we don’t have to be superheroes or spiders to sense when something is wrong. God has equipped us with certain spiritual, emotional, and intellectual sensors which allow us to be proactive in the contexts of imminent danger.
Yet it appears that we are becoming increasingly desensitized to threats that loom ever before us.
The proliferation of mass homicides buoyed by the mass proliferation of militaristic weapons in our society has not yet provided sufficient incentive for sensible gun legislation. The ongoing depletions of the ozone layer, resulting in the increasing severity of floods and weather patterns on the planet have not yet garnered the critical mass necessary to make climate change a national and global priority. And while American democracy itself is under the siege of voter suppression, election denial, the attack on the Capitol, and even the specter of civil war, about half of American voters appear to be oblivious.
When an infant cries, it is a sign that something is not right. But when their cries go unattended for so long, infants stop crying and suffer in silence.
Our greatest human tragedy may well be the numbing of our God-given sensitivities.
God, the handwriting on the wall is apparent. Move us to read and respond accordingly. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.