“Those who say, ‘I love God,’ and hate their brothers and sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from Jesus is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.”
I John 4: 20-21
“’Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ Jesus said, “'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’”
Matthew 22: 36-40
God, we can only imagine your grief. We join the countless thousands who grieve as the church in which they have come to know your love and grace has voted for exclusion over love. Ignoring your call to do no harm, this vote to inflict even more harm on those who seek to welcome and celebrate all of your children is antithetical to your message of wholeness and justice.
As human beings we know that we fall short of your glory time and time again. And, we also know that you never fail to embrace us, to love us, to call us to be more like you. May we embrace one another in our grief. May we imagine a church, a world, a people who live up to your unending love. May we never fail to speak up when your children, when our siblings, are harmed, threatened, or violated.
Pour your love anew into our hearts. Wrap us tenderly in your embrace. Embolden our witness to your love and grace. Soften the hearts and minds of those do not yet know the harm that they have inflicted. Incline their ears to the cries of your beloved.
When humanity projected hate and thought they had solved the problem of Jesus, your love prevailed. We trust that your love will always prevail because we trust in the power of the resurrection. Help us to make a way for your resurrecting power. Guide us as we strive to bring hope to the despairing, love to the brokenhearted, and comfort to the afflicted.
May it by so in our hearts and in the United Methodist Church. In all of your Holy names and in the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.