OMG: three little letters representing Creator and creature, infinity and love; or the fool’s laughter, signifying nothing?

There is a world of difference between ‘Oh, my God!’ used as a virtually meaningless  exclamation of surprise and ‘O my God’ used as the language of prayer. They are as different as chalk and cheese, as far apart as the East is from the West. If one were to say how offensive the misuse of God’s name is to the ears of believers, one might be regarded as rather strange, ‘excessively’ religious, a bit of a pompous ass (donkey to our American friends). The acronym makes it no better. To triviliase the Infinite is surely the mark of the very shallow.

So what of ‘O my God’? We use those three little words to call upon the Almighty with joy, thanksgiving and contrition. They are our comfort in sorrow, our help in times of need; the only words necessary to adoration. They are
‘church-bells beyond the starres heard, the soul’s blood,
The land of spices: something understood.’

Can we reclaim them? Does it matter? Look at the front page of today’s BBC website or any newspaper and ask yourself how and why we came to this. If that doesn’t bring you to your knees, I don’t know what will.


9 thoughts on “OMG”

  1. Thank you for bringing a beautiful, Oh My God, to my day.
    Maybe I will pray that all who say it absent-mindedly and irreverently discover the joy of meaning every word of it.

  2. I fear it is a fashion, like ‘awesome’. It is lazy language, for people who do not mind using words that they devalue.

    Truly, there is little that is awesome except the Almighty. And most of ‘us’ would not use the expression, ‘Oh my God!’, except in moments of dire need or reverent joy.

    The only comfort I can offer myself or your readers is ‘this too will pass’.

  3. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. The use of OMG is, at best, deeply saddening. My generation was taught to believe it a blasphemy and I can now understand why that isn’t going too far.

    Such, I am sure, is not the intention of most users. But this haphazard expression does not honour God. Widespreading secularism and modern hubris – which sees no connection with the state of the world and its own tenets – fails to take into account one thing:

    The existence of God does not depend upon our belief in him.

    The Lord’s Prayer (and the old Mosaic manual for human survival, the Ten Commandments, upon which our legal system was founded) acknowledges God before all else. Individuals are free to believe what they choose, but to honour a Creative Power bigger than we are only enlarges the human potential for good in a fallen world and, with added prayer, invites and inspires the working of the Holy Spirit to renew the face of the earth.

  4. Thank you for this inspiring post. I have used OMG as my prayer today; a day spent in hospital appointments. I’m not sure that we as a society can reclaim it, but certainly as an individual this cry has sustained me in giving thanks, dealing with pain, sitting with others in waiting rooms and meeting with hospital staff.
    I read somewhere that a short phrase like this, spoken with a wide range of intentions can be called an ‘arrow prayer’

  5. I had an optometrist’s appt. yesterday, new eyeglass lenses required. The technician described a new type of lens, exclaiming “These made a big difference, not huge, it was not like “I saw Jesus” but they were so much better.” Needless to say I was taken aback, she excused her outburst as merely irreverent humour, in keeping with that of her family, then stated she was glad she hadn’t offended me. Maybe the problem with all these blasphemers is that they do need to meet Jesus – we seem to be living in an increasingly pagan world.

  6. “If one were to say how offensive the misuse of God’s name is to the ears of believers, one might be regarded as rather strange.” I fear that many believers, sadly, are less than offended.

  7. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and reflections. I often think the main value of blogging is in the insights shared by the readers. I have spent today locating, ironing and hanging curtains, shopping for wood glue and similar exciting items; tonight I have an article to write. Not once have I heard or read the acronym I so much dislike. Truly, God is a God of surprises.

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