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Notebook & Easel: A Clement Arts Blog

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A Liturgy for a Time of Widespread Suffering

By Douglas McKelvey

Christ Our King, 
Our world is overtaken by unexpected 
calamity, and by a host of attending fears, 
worries, and insecurities. 

We witness suffering, confusion, and 
hardship multiplied around us, and we find
ourselves swept up in these same anxieties and 
troubles, dismayed by so many uncertainties. 

Now we turn to you, O God, 
in this season of our common distress.
Be merciful, O Christ, to those who suffer, 
to those who worry, to those who grieve, to
those who are threatened or harmed in any 
way by this upheaval. Let your holy compassions 
be active throughout the world even now—
tending the afflicted, comforting the 
brokenhearted, and bringing hope to 
many who are hopeless. 

Use even these hardships to woo our hearts 
nearer to you, O God.

Indeed, O Father, may these days 
of disquiet become a catalyst 
for conviction and repentance,
for the tendering of our affections, 
for the stirring of our sympathies,
for the refining of our love.

We are your people, who are called by you,
We need not be troubled or alarmed.

Indeed, O Lord, let us love now more fearlessly,
remembering that you created us, 
and appointed us 
to live in these very places, 
in the midst of these unsettled times. 

It is no surprise to you that we are here now,
sharing in this turmoil along with the rest of 
our society, for you have called your children 
to live as salt and light among the nations, 
praying and laboring for the flourishing of the 
communities where we dwell, acting as agents of 
your forgiveness, salvation, healing, reconciliation, 
and hope, in the very midst of an often-troubled world.

And in these holy vocations 
you have not left us helpless, O Lord, 
because you have not left us at all. 
Your Spirit remains among us.

Inhabit now your church, O Spirit of the Risen Christ.
Unite and equip your people for the work before them.

Father, empower your children to live as your children. 
In times of distress let us respond, not as those 
who would instinctively entrench for our own 
self-preservation, but rather as those who—in imitation 
of their Lord—would move in humble obedience toward 
the needs and hurts of their neighborhoods and communities.

You were not ashamed to share in our sufferings, Jesus. 
Let us now be willing to share in yours, serving 
as your visible witnesses in this broken world.

Hear now these words, you children of God, 
and be greatly encouraged:
The Lord’s throne in heaven is yet occupied, 
his rule is eternal, and his good purposes 
on earth will be forever accomplished.
So we need never be swayed by the brief and 
passing panics of this age.

You are the King of the Ages, O Christ, 
and history is held in your Father’s hands. 

We, your people, know the good and glorious 
end of this story. Our heavenly hope is secure. 
In this time of widespread suffering then, 
let us rest afresh in the surpassing peace of that 
vision, that your whole church on earth might be 
liberated to love more generously and sacrificially.

Now labor in and through us, O Lord, extending and 
multiplying the many expressions of your mercy.


Learn more about Doug McKelvey's liturgical prayers and download a printable copy at

Please pray with us for the nearly 500 children in the Chattahoochee Valley who are currently in foster care and for the vulnerable children in our community who may be experiencing unsafe environments during this time.
Not everyone is called to be a foster parent or adopt, but everyone is called to do something. To find out more about care teams, or how you can help support foster families and children in foster care, contact us at


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