Blessings. noun. A prayer asking for God’s favor.
Normally I share these prayers on Mondays. In light of the headlines this week, I need this prayer now.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
– 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
We are hurting.
The divide in our world, our city, our neighborhood, is great. We see, again and again, in Baton Rouge and Dallas and our own backyard, the effects of fear and pain and our broken, frail humanity.
Our instinct is to rally with our people, to stand with those like ourselves, to breed anger and defensiveness. All of us, on all sides, see our security slipping, and we want to make ourselves great again.
There is a different way. There is a better way.
Remind us that now is the time for love. Real love.
Today, we know a weaker brand of love. It’s pink and fluffy and entirely lacking substance. It is the stuff of rom-coms and Christmas commercials. It is a feeling. It balks when uncomfortable. It shrinks from conflict. It does not withstand courageous conversations, painful silences, or knotty issues. It does little more than make us feel better.
Father, teach us to love radically. Remind us of how you loved. How you treated everyone, from your dear friend Martha to Zaccheus the greedy tax collector to the woman caught in adultery whose life you saved. How you treated us, when you gave up your comfort and dignity and life because we needed you.
Your love pierced to the heart. It showed that you knew us, you heard us, you valued us, and you cared for us. It healed us.
We need your brand of love.
Radical love does not argue. It does not blame. It does not accuse. It listens. It joins brothers and sisters in grief. It serves. It creates wholeness from brokenness.
Even with the best intentions, we will fail to have this kind of love. First Corinthians 13 describes an outrageous love only you have mastered. But imagine if we tried. If we tried to love without boasting, without being self-seeking, without keeping records of wrongs, while protecting, while hoping, while persevering.
There is no other place to start. There is no better place to start.
This week, we watch with devastated eyes the conditions of our world. May we not shrink back in fear, protecting our own with doors and minds and hearts fiercely barred. May your love spur us on, overflowing into a world in desperate need of it.