Today's prayer of the day in the prayer book For All the Saints comes from Samuel Johnson, an 18th century Anglican. I find it especially fitting for Lent, in general, and the perpetual chatter of today's news and social media, in particular:
O Lord, my Maker and Protector...while it shall please Thee to continue me in this world where much is to be done and little is to be known, teach my by Thy Holy Spirit to withdraw my mind from unprofitable and dangerous enquiries, from difficulties vainly curious, and doubts impossible to be solved. Let me rejoice in the light which Thou hast imparted, let me serve Thee with active zeal, and humble confidence, and wait with patient expectation for the time in which the soul which Thou received, shall be satisfied with knowledge. Amen.
I was struck by the words of this prayer this morning, specifically the phrase "unprofitable and dangerous enquiries, from difficulties vainly curious, and doubts impossible to be solved." How our lives are filled with an endless streaming, a perpetual scrolling, and non-stop interruptions of just these sorts of things! I am by no means suggesting that news and social media are intrinsically or only unprofitable, vain, and impossible; however, in practice they are oftentimes exactly and primarily these.
In part, Lent is about stripping away these sorts of distractions that we might focus on our relationship with Christ and our walk of faith in the world. We would doubtlessly benefit from the elimination of these distractions in the short-term, and would certainly benefit from such a stripping away of their uselessness in the long-term.
It is something to consider seriously. I dare think we would all be much better as a result.