Oh Lord, Creator of all things, Founder of all ideas, Ruler of the universe, I come to you tonight seeking comfort, understanding of the mysterious ways of your Cosmos and a quieting of my jagged mind and thumping heart.
I rejoice in Your Creation, and I acknowledge You as the Architect and Intelligent Designer of all that is, ever has been and ever will be. I know that I understand so little and that my questions and insecurities are minuscule within the glory of Your Plan.
You have created as many galaxies as there are dust motes floating on the breezes, each containing as many suns as grains of sand on the broad beaches which caress your oceans. You have powered the many sextillion suns with an incomprehensible power from fusing together atoms of your very simplest elements. We poor mortals pretend to understand the process and yet all we can do to imitate it is strike sparks, awesome in their destructive power to us but only as notable to You as the power of a snowflake striking the earth.
I bow down in awe at Your creation of the brain within Your creatures, more especially the brains within Your human servants. We try to imitate Your creation with our puny machines and yet we know that if we created a microchip the size of our glorious mother West Virginia, it would contain only the tiniest power of the feeblest human mind and have within it no inspiration of life.
I praise You tonight for Your gift to us of language. I must admit to You, that I really don’t understand the whole Tower of Babel thing, for my finite knowledge cannot envision a tower built as high as Your Scriptures say without the use of structural steel or other metals in engineering forms unknown at the time of that construction. Sometimes in the darkness of my heart, such things lead me to wonder if Your word is indeed to be taken completely literally or as others suggest in deep and meaningful symbolism. I must also confess that this whole Revelation of St. John the Divine really adds to those questions within my heart. But, I digress. Back to language.
Your let us create about 100 symbols in a system for us to arrange them whereby we may record, transmit and preserve information, thoughts and ideas. Your doctrine of free will, even though that apparently is also a matter of some dispute, guarantees that some of the information, thoughts and ideas thus recorded, transmitted or preserved hold great wisdom, while others carried the metaphorical stench of the manure spread by the sturdy husbandman upon the fallow fields.
You have inspired Your servants to create ever more convenient and lasting methods to create and preserve the endless strings of these symbols, first inspiring mankind to carve them within stone. Thus did You send to us Your commandments which, regrettably, some of Your servants seem to treat as optional suggestions.
You inspired mankind to look to the products of Your animals and of Your plants to create inks and dyes to put upon thin sheets of plant fibers or animal skins, recognizing that that was awfully hard luck on the animals.
You inspired the scribes and monks to create volumes of illuminated beauty with these dyes and inks as well as with Your rare and beautiful lapis lazuli, pearl, malachite, jade and other rare minerals to create vibrant color.
You created the wondrous element lead with its low melting temperature and taught us to create movable type and paper made of dried fibers of Your many trees. Thus, the knowledge of Your people grew and expanded, filling libraries which became Your Temples of Knowledge.
And You enabled teachers, Lord God, to teach Your humble servant to encode and decode Your language symbols and thereby to share the fruits of human knowledge and even perhaps to add a single jot or perhaps a tittle.
I cannot question Your knowledge, don’t get me wrong. You’ve steered me away from the Rocky Shoals in so many ways. You created Your narcotics to aid the desperately ill, and yet the Evil One was never able successfully to tempt me into the use thereof. Your spectacular science of chemistry included fermentation and distillation and as a part of my learning, You sent me to West Virginia University, where ethanol flows like the milk of human kindness from all of Your saints. And in the spring, Your ramps are cooked, but that doesn’t have much to do with this prayer. And yet I and my liver survived WVU and as You so aptly put it in Your Scripture, I set aside childish things including ethanol and billiards and making humorous though sarcastic comments to the most odious of my classmates and moved ahead toward the door of Your kingdom.
Along the way, You engendered in my heart with love of knowledge which went overboard to the point of an addiction to reading and knowledge and the acquisition of and toting of many paper volumes of the written language. And yet, in my use thereof my shoulders were broad and my arms mighty and I lugged these books of words heavy in Your gravity with a light heart.
And then You unleashed the mind of man upon the electron. You taught us that conduction could be more than simply on-off, that there was an entire world of knowledge if we could only semi-conduct, and it was so. You whetted our appetite for semi-conducted prose displayed on phosphor screens illuminated by streams of electrons directed through cathodes. You burst into our minds with the light emitting diode and then lay before us the promised land of liquid crystals.
You permitted Your servants to improve battery technology by cramming ever more joules of energy into ever smaller packages. You enabled us to shrink filing cabinets and shelves of Your written word onto the tiniest silicon wafers and permit random-access thereof.
And then, Father God, through Your servant Jeff Bezos, You laid before us on the velvet pillow a vision of the heavenly host, the Amazon Kindle. The tiny silicon memory therein housed hundreds of books. The liquid crystal diode screen drew minimal power. Through the wonders of Your 3G system, You enabled Your servants to grab books from the ether and condense them into our very hands.
As the guys at Amazon hosed us now and then we were first insensate and then forgiving, for Your boon which they had delivered unto us was as the crossing of the lost tribes of Israel into the Promised Land. They promised us that we could obtain bestsellers for never more than $9.99, and that promise vanished into the smoke with the regretful notation “Price set by publisher.” And yet we believed. We downloaded books. We bought special covers, and we formed Facebook groups and babbled about our joys.
Fools that we were! We ignored Your words that pride goes before a fall. Okay, that was some Greek, but I’m sure that You inspired him. For the screen of the Amazon Kindle, that deceptive liquid crystal diode screen was designed by the Evil One.
Oh woe be unto me! So many days would I pick up my Amazon Kindle and turn it on and crawl through the window into a new world of knowledge and characters and action and thought and cleanliness and everlasting joy. And then, suddenly and without warning, I would turn on the Amazon Kindle and that accursed screen would be nothing but random lines with perhaps just a word or two blurry in the background.
And the Evil One mocked me. Every time this happened, I dutifully called Amazon Kindle Support. Six times did this happen and I probably got acceptable service five times. Considering that Meatloaf says two out of three ain’t bad, I probably beat the averages.
And then, Lord God, came the to the Seventh time and like the opening of the Seventh Seal, there was anguish therein.
I was at the end of the 10th volume of a fascinating 10 volume series by a favorite author. The stirring climax all had passed, and yet we were into the drawn out and delicious dénouement, where the waters of the burst dam spread across the vast plain. I was but a few pages from the end, my heart was singing, and the peace which passes all understanding was within my grasp.
And then the Evil One crashed my screen.
I was bereft. Quickly did I call Amazon Kindle Support, and yet I did not speak to one of my brothers or sisters upon this Continent. Your gravity and Your centrifugal force has let satellites remain in geostationary orbits so that my voice can carry to other continents and subcontinents and there talk with low-paid yet earnest people reading from scripts who understand not my culture and who cannot at the time that my night is their day hear the beating of my heart.
The Evil One chortled as he connected me to someone who said, yea, we can replace Your Amazon Kindle with two day delivery, but it’s the weekend, so wait until Monday.
Gadzooks, I replied! Look upon my account. Count the drachmas and shekels which have flown from my account to Amazon’s in the last 14 years and do not leave me high anbd dry, but send me a replacement Amazon Kindle by FedEx overnight.
Verily, the customer service representative replied, thou art blessed among customers and so I pledge by Vishnu and the seven dwarves (or something like that) that your replacement Amazon Kindle shall flee the shelves of our warehouse in Lexington, Kentucky, in moments and I promise to you that it shall be delivered be delivered unto you tomorrow, Friday, 3 February 2012.
You know the beating of my heart, my Father. You know the fall of the leaf and the flight of the sparrow. You know that the busy FedEx delivery driver sped all about Your kingdom on Friday, 3 February 2012, but came not unto me.
And so when I called Amazon Kindle support again I was again told, “Wait until Monday.” “What about your representative’s promise,” I inquired. “Oopsie,” said some supervisor, “Too bad, so sad.” Okay, You know she didn’t use those words, but that seem to me to be the sentiment.
And so, father, tonight I lament and seek understanding. I have been forsaken. Electrons do not stimulate photons which form symbols that bring joy to my eyes and into my heart. Anoint Your humble servant with holy oil and make the hours pass swiftly between now and Monday afternoon.
And tell the Evil One that if he has to be difficult, that there is this big company just itching for attention.