I have been blessed over the last year by the books Every Moment Holy that have come out of the Rabbit Room.
These are two volumes of liturgies for ordinary moments of everyday life—written prayers about normal stuff and about the horrifically brutal stuff that sometimes happens to us.
After writing about how social media functions as a cultural liturgy it made me wonder if we needed a liturgy for the opening of our social media apps—below is my attempt to write that prayer.
As I open the app and feel the thrill or despondency of likes or loneliness, would you be thrilling to my heart. Would your priorities be mine. Would you grant me perspective to see the effects this app has on me.
Gift me with long eyes, to see the flow of time and my small size. Gift me the patience to work at wisdom, and to pursue virtue. Remind me that you see the end from the beginning, and that to you a thousand years is as the twinkling of an eye.
Keep me from thinking that what is new matters more than what is old. Root me in the ancient story. Keep me from thinking that likes are the same thing as value. Give me rich eyes to see the true value of the way of Jesus and to see my own true value in the eyes of God. Remind me that you, great and merciful God, have rescued me from the pit undeserving. Remind me that you, inexpressibly glorious King, have chosen to make me a child of the living God.
Quiet my heart, O God, so I can receive your love rather than the drama I am about to read. Remind me that your ways are not my ways, or this app’s ways. Teach me the economy of the kingdom, the aroma of the kingdom, and the disposition of the kingdom.
Speak to me, Lord, of your goodness. Alight my eyes on the goodness of the world you have carved for me with your hands. Gift me with future-seeing eyes, to see that you are making all things new, that the world’s future is brighter than its past, and that I can have hope so rich as to build my life on it. Keep me from doubting that hope in a day of dark things and dank memes.
Show me your way, God. Gift me eyes that act. Help me to remember that to speak is good, but to act is better. Keep me from thinking that my faith doesn’t belong on the internet, or in public. Teach me how to walk it truly, in all its mess, in public spaces. Help me keep my faith weird, help me keep it strange, help me not to domesticate it. We confess a man walked out the back of death.
Keep me from image management. This day as I scroll, give me opportunities to bare my soul to flesh and blood friends. Remind me in their words and actions that true joy and true sorrow need a friend by your side. As I post and like and doomscroll, provoke me Spirit to reach out to a friend in need, and to reach out to a friend in my need.
For every like would you spur me to say a prayer. For every post would you spur me, Spirit, to gift a merciful act to another. For every hot take, would you prick me to repent of the sins of my own heart.
Watch me as I scroll, O Lord, and teach to close the app sooner rather than later.
I hope that’s of some help. You may well find your desire to open the app is much diminished. Then put your phone down—turn it off even—and walk away. But don’t feel guilty if you do continue on, instead watch your heart.
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