A Liturgy for Those Flooded With Too Much Information
In a world so wired and interconnected,
our anxious hearts are pummeled by
an endless barrage of troubling news.
We are daily aware of more grief,
O Lord, than we can rightly consider,
of more suffering and scandal
than we can respond to, of more
hostility, hatred, horror, and injustice
than we can engage with compassion.
But you, O Jesus, are not disquieted
by such news of cruelty and terror and war.
You are neither anxious nor overwhelmed.
You carried the full weight of the suffering
of a broken world when you hung upon
the cross, and you carry it still.
When the cacophony of universal distress
unsettles us, remind us that we are but small
and finite creatures, never designed to carry
the vast abstractions of great burdens,
for our arms are too short and our strength
is too small. Justice and mercy, healing
and redemption, are your great labors.
And yes, it is your good pleasure to accomplish
such works through your people,
but you have never asked any one of us
to undertake more than your grace
will enable us to fulfill.
Guard us then from shutting down our empathy
or walling off our hearts because of the glut of
unactionable misery that floods our awareness.
You have many children in many places
around this globe. Move each of our hearts
to compassionately respond to those needs
that intersect our actual lives, that in all places
your body might be actively addressing
the pain and brokenness of this world,
each of us liberated and empowered
by your Spirit to fulfill the small part
of your redemptive work assigned to us.
Give us discernment
in the face of troubling news reports.
Give us discernment
to know when to pray,
when to speak out,
when to act,
and when to simply
shut off our screens and our devices,
and to sit quietly
in your presence,
casting the burdens of this world
upon the strong shoulders
of the one who
is able to bear them up.
-Douglas Kaine McKelvey*
Reflect and Respond
- What words or phrases within this prayer are capturing your attention?
- One author has said, “We are drowning in information, but starving for wisdom.” Agree or Disagree? What does this poet/prayer suggest is a remedy for this challenge?