In 1 John 4 we’re told that anyone who claims to love God but hates another person or group of people is a liar and that the love of God is not in them. This week, with the attack on a mosque in Minnesota last Sunday and the events in Charlottesville, Virginia Friday and Saturday, we’re reminded that hatred for the other is alive and well and in some cases thriving in our nation. So as we pray this morning and remember those mentioned on our Prayer List and those unnamed but who are in our hearts we pray as well for our nation, and take time to name and repent the hatred and racism that at times seems woven into the fabric of our being. Would you pray with me?
God who created all things, you made man in your image and as you looked upon what you had created you declared that it was good. Far too often in the history of man we have seemed determined to make you out to be a liar. Forgive us, o Lord, we pray, for the times when we look on the other, whether because of race, religion, class, or status, as anything less than your image. For the times we’ve set ourselves above anyone you have created. For the times we’ve remained silent in the face of hatred and racism of others. For all this we ask your forgiveness.
Christ who redeems and reconciles all people, on the night you were to be betrayed you prayed that we may be one just as you and the Father are one. Let that be our prayer as well. Challenge and convict us of the ways we fail to seek that reality, forgive us our acceptance of anything short of that ideal, and call us to follow your example and seek a kingdom where all are welcome, equal, and loved.
Spirit who connects all creation with the breath of God, who speaks all languages and touches all people, and who sustains us for the work of the Kingdom, ignite in us a passion for all people of the Earth. Connect us with those we might seek to avoid. Strengthen us for the task of forgiveness, empower us for the task of reconciliation, and embolden us to stand against the things that are not of you.
For the lives lost in Virginia yesterday, we pray. For those injured, we pray. For the victims of terror in Minnesota, we pray. For the hearts of those who committed these acts, and for our own hearts to be free of hatred, division, and the desire for supremacy, we pray. For a world that seems focused on the things that divide us, we pray to you, o Lord, the one who created us in your image and unites us in your love.
Eternal God: Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, let us be one as you are one. Forgive us where we fall short. Guide us and our nation this day on the path of repentance.