Mixed Emotions met with Radical Love 

Text: “There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear.” 1 John 4.18

Introduction: I wrote this prayer and offered a version of it during our worship Sunday, August 2. It’s a prayer of honesty; when we come to God with all of our mixed emotion and we are met with the unmatchable grace and understanding and love of our Creator. 

Pastoral Prayer:

God of love, we come to you in prayer with our feelings of hope and our feelings of cynicism. Help us as we oscillate between both. We have heard of this kind of radical love in the scriptures today; we have heard promises that we love others like you love us, that love lives within us. That we somehow exude all this God love from our beings if we can accept that you truly love us fully. It sounds wonderful, it sounds, sometimes, too good to be true. And in those moments we can shift towards cynicism. We ask ourselves, It can’t really work like that, right? We can’t be that lovable? People can’t be that good. Certainly, there should be more rules to follow, a right set of words or doctrine to recite, more fear, right? In those moments when we question the simplicity of the love you offer, remind us of the words written in this letter; that real love drives out fear. That real love doesn’t focus on punishment. That real love lives in us because of you. 

God, we carry in our fragile spirits so much uncertainty, so much anxiety. All of what we plan for and anticipate comes with a stamp of maybe, “tentatively scheduled.” We are weary of being flexible. We are weary of waiting to know what cannot be known. We are tired and the reports don’t seem to have a date at the end of the tunnel. We bring our weary selves to worship and to prayer. Help us share the burden of our frustrations even as we feel blessed. We are blessed by health and by steady jobs, we are blessed by family, by purpose, by the ability to put food on the table, even when we are really tired of cooking it. We see the blessing God, we are grateful, but our gratitude isn’t enough to drown out our feelings of weariness, and so we bring you both. And because of the promise of radical love you made to us we are confident that we can bring both our gratitude and our weariness and receive no judgment from you.

May you continue to bless us O God, as we bring our bag of mixed feelings. Bless our anger and irritation. Bless our gratitude and joy. Bless our fear and our courage. Bless our weariness and our commitment to new goals. Bless our ever-changing decisions on how comfortable we are with various levels of engaging with the world and with others; bless our socializing and our distancing. Bless us our hope and our cynicism. And as you bless us, may we bless others through the kind of radical love promised to us through the life and love of your son in whose name we pray all these things, Amen. 

Topic: Mixed Emotions, Grace

Author: Rev. Darcy Crain