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How ironic is it that in a year the whole world came to a standstill, the most spoken buzz word should be “zoom”?

Zoom is one of those delightful, onomatopoeia-tic words that says what it does by the sound it makes. Or, it denotes a sense of speed; objects in the periphery are blurred out of focus, like the effect of a long-distance lens. It also means the motion of increasing or rising sharply upward. This is a colorful, high energy word that seems to be the polar opposite of our current experience, yet not a day goes by without our employing it. Interesting paradox.

In 2020-2021, all other definitions of Zoom have been superseded by one alone – as an Internet platform for hosting more than one person in a virtual meeting. Most of us working from home have become very familiar with this interchange as we attempt to carry on business as usual. It is simply the new way of getting things done.

I marvel at how effectual the Zoom exchange is. How efficient! In a normal holiday setting, it might take you all day to have a significant exchange with everyone, but here you can focus everyone’s attention and get it done in 45 minutes! Plus, all are witness to the same conversation, so misunderstanding, second-hand distortion or familial prejudices are eliminated. It’s a great equalizer. Also, the attitude someone comes in with is glaringly apparent! Honesty and vulnerability shine sweetly, while resentment or boredom darken like a Linus cloud. Body language cannot be disguised, so Zoom reveals more than a phone call or e-mail. When you get several people on site, you are literally able to be in more than one place at one time. Temporal and spatial barriers are being shattered by virtual realities! In case you missed the signs and wonders, you have now entered a new era.

This juxtaposition of strange, even contradictory elements we are experiencing puts me in mind of a biblical story from Exodus 3-4 where Moses encounters God through the burning bush. His whole world shifted in one moment (sound familiar?). While Moses is awed, he’s still dubious about his ability to convey to an enslaved Israel the message of deliverance.

Then Moses answered and said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’ ” So the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A rod.” And He said, “Cast it on the ground.” So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. Exodus 4:1-3

Against the ominous backdrop of the mountain, the burning bush and the voice of the Almighty, God tells Moses that the power sign to prove his credentials is already in his hand. Carrying the crudest of staffs, he’s instructed to take that humble object and throw it down. When he does, one of his most familiar tools transforms into something terrifyingly serpentine.

What’s the parallel? When we have so few options in this extraordinary year, we must use the tools we have to hand. We may have overlooked them. Believe it or not, the cloud of anointing has moved in a redemptive way over the internet. God is currently using zoom to restore connectivity in an unimaginable way. The Internet itself is basically a snake-pit, but in hand of God’s anointed, Aaron’s rod will swallow other serpents.

In the new year, we put out a call to one side of our family who hardly ever connect in any way, let alone on the Internet. It was a shot in the dark, a bit like herding cats, but when we finally all popped up together, God was there, in the details. I had an actual visceral response to seeing “the family”. These faces had not been together for ten years, since the occasion of Dad’s funeral. In the passing time, we had lost each other, bogged down in family battles, offences, secrets and physical distance. A lot of factors had exiled us, so when we were finally all together, it was a copper-bottomed WOW of a miracle. Monumental. There may not have been any truly deep revelations, but breakthrough was made. Ground was recovered. I’m still praising God.

Priorities are shifting back into focus. Time to zoom in on things we’ve neglected much too long. The family is under the microscope, lens turned on all the weak and festering places God would so love to heal. What’s in your hand, Moses? Time and opportunity. I admit…opening yourself up to hear what others want to say, especially in a corporate setting is not easy, but oils of healing are present. Don’t fear the snakes.

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