I am still thinking about liturgy for worship in the modern age of technology. It occurs to me, at least in my personal life, that a prayer of confession surrounding the use, or misuse of the internet in particular would be helpful. So many of our church problems or issues now stem from communication problems that surround emails, Facebook or otherwise. Have you been on the receiving end of a "nasty-gram" regarding church business? Have you written some angry diatribe, pushed send, and then wished to God you hadn't done it?
I can answer yes to both questions, and I'm fairly certain that I am not alone. The fact is, emailing makes communication easier on the one hand, and it destroys it on the other. In my opinion these email blunders are a sign of our basic cowardice. We wouldn't dare say half the things we say on the internet to someone's face. Just look at the garbage that gets posted as comments on any public site.
There is no point burying our heads in the sand and swearing off email, nor is there any benefit in remaining angry with ourselves for this cowardice. It's one more form of total depravity. When offered an opportunity to share harsh opinions without immediate repercussions, we jump at the chance. But we can take responsibility for the things we write to one another, and we can acknowledge our tendency to behave badly at the computer screen.
I would love to see a prayer of confession something like this spoken by almost every Session I've ever worked with. And I wonder if there might be a place for this type of language in congregational behavioral covenants:
Gracious God, we are a fearful people. We fear confrontation, and yet we are desperate to be heard. Our anxiety of controversy is so high that we resort to cowardly means to share our views. Forgive our mean-spirited, knee-jerk reactions through email. Forgive our use of words as weapons. We also know that we are quick to take offense. Give us a patient heart, and the courage to ask someone what their true intent is before responding in anger. Forgive our insecurities, Lord. Give us words the build up rather than tear down, and cover our debates and disagreements with your justice and your love. In Jesus Christ we pray these things, Amen.