Yesterday I preached on the need to find awe, a sense of being a part of something much larger than ourselves, even, maybe especially, in times of trouble. Awe connects us to interdependence, a sense that we need each other, and spurs us to listen to our best instincts to protect and preserve each other, to see everything as sacred and holy and in need of us.

I decided it was time to take my own advice. So today I restarted an unorthodox spiritual practice I tried (and failed) to keep up with in 2018 during my year of chaplain residency: Instagram. See, Instagram is unique as a social media platform because, rather than being focused on connections, conversations, and links, Instagram is solely focused on pictures and videos as a way of curating your life. The idea is to download the app to your phone and use the service as a way of capturing what you find sacred in the world in real time.

I didn’t come up with the idea; I first heard about from Rev. Cynthia Cain’s essay “Instagram as Spiritual Practice” in the book Faithful Practices: Everyday Ways to Feed Your Spirit. I thought it sounded like an amazing way to curate those things that remind me I’m part of a sacred fabric, even when it doesn’t feel that way. Though I wasn’t able to keep up with it that way, I’ve never forgotten about it, and now feels like the right way to come back to it.

So, I updated my Instagram profile today and I plan on giving Instagraming another go during this time of social distancing when I could use some reminders to look for the holy.

But I don’t want to do it alone. See, when Instagram profiles such as mine are kept public, they have the added bonus that we can go through each others’ photos and, consequently, what we each find sacred. My personal hope is that someone will find some awe on a day when they need it most, when such wonder seems far away. But I’m going to need it eventually, too, and I hope others will join me in finding ways to chronicle the things they are in awe of.

The purpose of any spiritual practice is to ground us and prepare us for the difficult times. So often, we drop our spiritual practices when the going gets tough, even though that’s the time we need them the most. It’s my hope that, by seeing everyday acts such as posting to social media as rife with spirituality, we can each find ways of keeping up our practice during this time.

So that’s my challenge to each of you: find ways to locate the sacred in the universe, even at times like this, because we all need wonder right now to remind us how interconnected we are in it all.

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One Reply to “Instagram as a Spiritual Practice”

  1. Rossi says:

    Thanks for sharing!

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