August 19, 2010

When something amazing happens ‘oh my God’ is often the expression that comes to the lips of believer and unbeliever alike. Why this phrase? One could argue that it is simply a social exclamation that has no more significance than Robin saying “Holy Birthday Cake Batman!” But I think it goes beyond that. Cute expressions usually fail when  we are in fear; when true awe hits. In those situations we realize that we are in the presence of something bigger.

For example, in the wake of the Haiti earthquake the world watched in horror as tens of thousands died, countless children were orphaned, and a city was laid to waste. The popular music world joined together to raise money for relief and aid. The concert was aired live on every network. I was struck by how religious these secular artists became during this time. Secularism is unable to express horror like Christianity can. Secularism is unable to speak of the transcendent. It is unable to cry out ‘why’. It is unable to cry out ‘God help us’. And so, secularists temporarily drop their secularism to express wonder. Here is a perfect example:

Justin Timberlake sings Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. He sings “Its not a cry that you hear at night it is not somebody that has seen the light it is a cold and broken hallelujah.” Hallelujah is Hebrew for “Praise the Lord”.

Recently, the viral video of the moment was the “Double Rainbow Guy”

Everyone had a good laugh at his reaction to seeing the double rainbow but I didn’t. I found it interesting. Perhaps his decision to record his reaction and then post it for the world to see was strange but his reaction to seeing the splendor of nature was not. In the video you hear the man exclaim over and over “Oh my God.” To prove this was not just an exclaimation he says at one point, “what does it mean?”

This gets to my point. I am convinced that everyone knows that God is there and that it is his hand that foreordains all things that come to pass. It is He who sends judgment and He who has mercy. When either extreme hardship or blessing pours out on us we instinctively know exactly who to cry out to.


2 Responses to “OMG”

  1. Alex Says:

    Then what does it mean when people say ‘holy shit’ in that sort of situation?

  2. W. Vida Says:

    Hi Alex,

    I sort of address this in the post. There is an element of OMG that is definitely just an idiom. But my post is about a lot more than OMG it is about the understanding in the face of great trial or wonder that there is something more than us.

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