I’ve heard from friends who grew up in the Chinese countryside that after the Cultural Revolution, morning by morning, the villagers would take out their tasseled frame of Mao’s photo and speak to it, partly like they were talking to a friend face-to-face and partly like they were praying to a god. They’d tell the photo where they were headed and what they had planned for the day, maybe a trip to the open market for vegetables or a day on the communist clock pushing dirt around with the least-effective straw broom possible. After all, everybody’s got to have something to keep them busy.

They’d go to the market and put vegetables in a basket and maybe along the way they’d find a live chicken to put out of its misery. They’d head home from broom duty and maybe stop to have a smoke under a willow at the park. At dusk, they’d come back through the door, pull the portrait out and tell it what they had done differently from the plans they’d shared in the morning.

I had a hard time wrapping my mind around the Mao cult, as I come from a nation that values dissent and (generally) cringes at propaganda. But as social media has brought on our own little cultural revolution in the past decade, I have more of a frame of reference for the framed Mao photos.

Maybe we don’t revere a particular person in our culture, but here, we answer to our technology. We check in with it first thing in the morning. We think about it all day long, how we are going to phrase an experience or thought. We peruse the happenings in our fellow citizens’ daily lives. We turn in for the evening and document our day.

Our first thoughts and actions of the day say a lot about what we value…even what we worship. When we open our eyes and lay them on the screen first thing, the images we see border on becoming graven ones. Before I open any of my ten inboxes, may I first open my eyes to the message he has for me.

“Oh God, You are my God; Early will I seek You….” ~Psalm 63:1

“In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.” ~Psalm 5:3

Songwriter Sara Groves strives for the same: “In the morning when I rise, help me to prioritize all the thoughts that fill my day. Before my schedule tells me that my day is full, before I’m off and on my way…. I want to praise you. I need to praise you. Let the first song that I sing be praises to my God and king.”

May our first whispers, thoughts, and movements be directed away from the cult of personality and instead toward Him who cannot be contained, to Him in whom all things hold together.

Here’s a little Internet break for you. Right now, before you do anything else online….
Read a Psalm from a leather-bound Bible.



{I’m linking up with Nester for her annual 31 Days blog get together. Don’t want to miss this series? Be sure to subscribe by entering your email in the box on the homepage sidebar. Find all posts in the series here.}