A Prayer for Prop 8 {And Other Times When Politics Make Us Ugly}

A prayer for us…by William Barclay (A Barclay Prayer Book, 1964)

“Let us ask God to give us this love.

Love is patient and kind.

O God, help us to be patient with people even they are foolish and silly and annoying; and help us always to be kind to others as we would wish them to be to us.

Love is not jealous or boastful. 

O God, help us never to grudge other people their possessions or their successes, but to be as glad as if they were our own; and keep us from all pride and from all conceit that we may never boast of what we are, or have, or have achieved.

Love is not arrogant or rude. 

O God, make us at all times courteous, as those who always remember that they are living in the presence of the King; and no matter what we are, and no matter who or what the other person is, help us never to look on anyone with contempt.

Love does not insist on its own way, is not irritable or resentful. 

O God help us,

   Not to sulk when we do not get our own way;

Not to be irritable and difficult to live with, but to take things and people as they come;

Not to resent criticism and rebuke, even when we think we do not deserve it.

Love does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.

O God, help us never to find any pleasure in any wrong thing, but to find happiness only in doing {not being} the right, and in helping others to do it.

Love bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 

O God, help us

To bear insults, injuries, slights and never to grow bitter;

Never to lose our faith in Jesus our Lord;

Never to despair, however dark and difficult and discouraging life may be;

To stick it out to the end, and never to give in.

O God, you are love; help us to show your love to others every day in life. This we ask for your love’s sake. Amen.”

Dear Christian friends, be careful how you respond to Prop 8. Don’t forget we are called to love.  Don’t forget Prop 8 is about sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters–real people. Real people that the God of whom you claim to represent created, loves, and yes, requires you to love too.  When your rhetoric comes at the expense of relationship, you have failed to walk the Jesus Way. Can you hold a conviction and still be nice? I know it feels like “the enemy” is winning, but the homosexuals aren’t our enemy. {And if by some very sad chance you think they are, imitate Jesus–invite them to your table for dinner–feed them–hang out with them until you realize that they are not so unlike yourself…probably only nicer, more accepting of others, less judgmental…kind of like how we’re supposed to be.} Sometimes the words you say and the tone you use about homosexuals does not make Jesus’ love sound beautiful. Frankly, it’s ugly. I think we all could do better.

My personal opinion is that until we can have Prop 8 on our mind, the words of this prayer on our tongue, and its content of love in our hearts, we should probably just keep our mouths shut.

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