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 alone is able to bear them up.
This liturgy is from Every Moment Holy by Doug McKelvey. We’ve updated the downloads section of the Every Moment Holy website to include liturgies like this one with special relevance to the coronavirus pandemic.