At a preaching conference this past summer in Montreat, North Carolina, the worship leader invited us all to take out our cell phones. We all did so, and she acknowledged that we were all probably thinking, "yes, yes, silence those stupid things. There's no place for them in worship." But instead, she asked us to hold the phones in one hand and to place our other hand on top. She acknowledged that without this particular technology, many of us would not have been able to get away from our jobs and families to be at the conference at all. We then prayed for all the people with whom we kept in touch for the week using our phones, and praised God for those connections that would not be possible without them.
I loved that prayer! It was the first time I saw a technological device embraced as good and helpful in a worship service. So it occurred to me there could be liturgy written for worship with the specific intention of lifting up the joys brought by technology. The church I most recently served might pray the following prayer of the (21st Century) people:
Lord, thank you for this screen and projector, which illuminate your words, and cause us to lift our heads to speak your name. The colors and images there show us your love in new and exciting ways! Thank you God, for the knowledge and craft of those who work our sound system, for through them we hear music which gathers us in and won't let us go until we have felt something real. Bless our website God. Even now, there may be someone who is searching for a place of faith where they can be themselves and belong. We offer up all: screen, DVD, and computer, to your glory. Guide us we use them to do your will. Amen
It sounds a little silly when I read this out loud; somehow the modern words seem out of place in a worship setting. But maybe that's part of the problem. Why shouldn't we pray for guidance as we use our phones, our laptops, projector screens, iPods, and the internet? If we start acknowledging the world we live in in our worship practices, then maybe somehow our worship will become more relevant to the world.