Yesterday I received one of those egregious e-mail chain letters, this one promising an angelically-inspired message and/or blessing at a (computer generated) appointed time, so long as the message was passed on to 7 or more people. The skeptic in me was curious to see what happened at my appointed time, 9:21 am today. I selected 10 people from my address book -- those who either dislike me already or like me enough to forgive me for sending them that kind of crap. I promised the recipients to let them know and asked them to return the favor if they played along, and apologized in the name of applied science.
I had the time written out on a Post-it next to my computer terminal so I wouldn't forget it. At about 9 am, I started checking my e-mail, sort of to keep all sources of communication open. This takes a little background to explain, but bear with me.
The phone didn't ring, no voice from the heavens, my cats did not speak in tongues at 9:21. If there was any message, it came from me, or the Christ in me, the Holy Ghost if I want to get all trinitarian about it.
An interesting experiment -- in the larger scale, I think the timed "blessing" idea is one of those tautologies that always produce results, but probably without divine cause. It will always work because any moment in our lives, examined closely enough through a lens of "here's a message" will produce a message. Humans are reason-seeking creatures, pattern-recognition hardwired, which explains seeing the Virgin Mary in tortillas and the like. That's the cynical scientific side of the coin.
The other side of the coin says, who cares about the science, if you find a helpful kernel of truth or comfort. The unexamined life, and all that. If you like, call it the work of angels, the Holy Ghost, the whisperings of the Giant Rat of Sumatra, may she enfold me in her holy whiskers ... we can use all the help we can get in this life, regardless of how we find it.