Singing the songs of Zion

I love working in the media – it’s creative, exciting, rewarding and full of incredibly gifted people who share a similar passion for making great content.  However, sometimes it can seem a scary, transient, fickle and somewhat dark place and, as a Christian, it’s easy to feel like a foreigner, like we’re entirely incongruous in our surroundings.I’m sure you are all familiar with the bible passage, if not the Bony M version, of Psalm 137:By the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept, as we remembered Zion.This Psalm speaks of the distress of the Israelites who have been exiled to a foreign land (Babylon) but are desperately trying not to forget their God and all that is connected with their promised land (Zion).  They are unsettled, living between two very different worlds.

Working in the media, as in life in general, we find ourselves faced with this similar, somewhat unsettling predicament.  We’re stuck in this fractured world and yet we know that there is so much more – a greater world that we have yet to experience.  As the writer C S Lewis said:

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

There are a number of ways we can approach this. We could get so completely stuck into ‘Babylon’ – the media world which, lets face it, is sometimes full of backbiting, heavy drinking, achievement driven, self-gratification – that we forget about our God and our future promised land.  Or we could, conversely, become so obsessed with our ‘Promised Land’ that we live in our safe Christian bubble, hanging out with our nice Christian friends and only engaging in wholesome godly conversation.  We consequently distance ourselves from Babylon and most importantly, it’s inhabitants and become boring party poopers.

Neither option is particularly beneficial to either ourselves or those around us and neither gives a satisfactory demonstration of our God and the future promised land in which we place our hope.

There is, thankfully, another approach which is mentioned later in the Psalm – we sing the songs of Zion while in the foreign land.  We go to the office parties (and are the first one on the dance floor!), we engage with and make strong friendships with our colleagues, we make incredible content. And yet, where possible, we try to be Jesus in our workplace, we try to bring His values into the office, the studio, the page, the film set.  We don’t live differently for our own glory and we don’t become proud, rather we do this out of gratitude and in a gracious and loving manner.  If we perpetually have God and His Promised Land in the front of our minds and are daily blown away by his love and mercy, living differently in Babylon will flow naturally.  Living between two worlds does not in any way make us better than the residents of the foreign land – we are all sinners, those of us in two-world limbo are merely sinners saved by grace.

Would be great to hear some practical ways that you are singing (hopefully metaphorically!) in your workplace…

Ruth McGarahan worked in Development for Blue Peter, and as coordinator for themedianet

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