Pandemic EmojisRejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


“The way emoji is being used to describe the pandemic is basically body language for the digital age,” Vyvan Evans, author of The Emoji Code: The Linguistics Behind Smiley Faces and Scaredy Cats, told CNN Business News. “We use language to convey ideas, but part of the meaning is missing” in short social media messages. An entire crop of new emojis has popped up during the Coronavirus pandemic. Smiley faces in masks remind us to cover our mouths and noses for the safety of ourselves and others. Shopping carts are used when we can’t find toilet paper. Hearts show love and concern while we are social distancing. There is even a Covid-19 emoji, the scary green ball with the spikey things, for our convenient use with expressions of fear and anger and just plain frustration with the current situation.


But the “praying hands” emoji was used 25% more in April 2020 than in August the previous year, according to Emojipedia, a group which tracks trends and frequency of emoji use on Twitter. Praying hands was the eighth most popular emoji that month, used to express profound thanks to workers on the front line of the epidemic. Praying hands also shows up when people share their concern for those they are unable to see person to person, and they may appear along with the shopping cart to indicate the good fortune of finding that toilet paper in the supermarket. (To date, I have not seen an emoji of a roll of toilet paper, but I’m sure it exists somewhere!)


The Apostle Paul told the Thessalonians to “pray without ceasing, giving thanks in all circumstances” because this is God’s will for us (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17). The meaning of the passage is about having a willingness to respond to impromptu reminders to raise a person or an issue in prayer any time. Does including the praying hands emoji in a text or Twitter message count as prayer? Paul tells the Romans that the Holy Spirit “groans” for us when we cannot find the words to pray. I expect the Spirit would approve of using an emoji in place of words.


Holy Spirit, guide us in our feeble efforts to offer prayers during this pandemic crisis. Amen


Meg Blaine Corrigan tells stories of wisdom, strength, fear, joy and risk-taking. Daughter of a raging alcoholic mother, and survivor of sexual assault at gunpoint, Corrigan has shaken a dismal past and flung herself into the arms of Christ, Who sustains her in her daily walk of grace. She shares with her listeners her incredible story of surviving and thriving through many trials during her seven decades walking this fragile earth. She has been described as a Renaissance Woman, integrating her formal training in psychology and counseling, an enlightening experience as a percussionist for a Polynesian show troupe, and most recently as an inspirational author and blogger, to the delight of all who read her work and hear her speak. Her exposure to many life experiences has enriched her passion for spreading Christ’s word and helping other trauma survivors. She has a master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling and thirty-plus years of experience in the field of counseling and social work.  She lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, with the love of her life, Patrick, and their formerly disenfranchised rescue dog Ginger.

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