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The Word on the Week

Advertising Heaven

Modern advertising promises heaven while charging you the earth! Its tentacles are everywhere colonising the public square and the private house.
In flashing lights, coloured brochures and digitally on TV and film we drown in a sea of guff. The trouble is we have grown accustomed to it. Our thinking gets corrupted. “Because you are worth it” eats into our brain even if the phrase never crosses our lips!
We congratulate ourselves when we refuse to buy. We think we are not that easily persuaded. Our will power has not entirely collapsed! But advertising will not leave you unscathed. It will have its pound of flesh.
Coveting and idolatry are two of the tools used in the craft. They are glamorised so as to disguise the fact that they are sins. They are sold as stepping stones to a successful life. A fulfilled life – not simply better than the person next door but up there with the stars and supermodels. Buy this and you will have your dreams fulfilled as the latest gizmo is flaunted before us.
The advertising people take our God-given desires for love and acceptance, lasting friendships and a sense of worth and go all out to convince us that these are to be found in the goods they are marketing. Instead of “In God we live and move and have our being” (Acts Chapter 17 verse 28) which St Paul said even the pagan poets, who penned these words, realised that these qualities are not to be found in material things but in God.
But we are being seduced by the advertisers to believe a lie and we don’t even know it. The secular cathedrals – our shopping malls – seduce our senses. We have bought into the lie that we must improve on the way God made us. Our bodies become long-term projects requiring large budgets and without a completion date in sight!
In was in the context of wanting things that St Paul went on the say “but godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content” (Titus Chapter 6 verses 6-8).
Jesus had something to say to people who were looking for something in the wrong place. “You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life” (St John Chapter 5 verses 39-40).
Don’t get confused by ‘advertising heaven’ when Jesus offers the real thing.