Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Jesus, You want me to pray for Fred Phelps?

(This esplains that.)

Surely You jest.  Fred Phelps and his family have some of the most hideous ideas and perpetrate some of the most heinous acts on the planet by protesting at soldier's funerals, thoroughly despicable human beings.

But he's human, as human as myself?  But surely You count his sins as greater than mine?

Oh, I shouldn't judge unless You judge me.  Nevertheless, it sure feels hard to forgive someone who I despise so thoroughly.

Oh, You try to get me to realize that.  Damn, oh I meant darn, You understand, don't You?  Thank God.  Oh, you're meeting Him for lunch.  Cool.

You say He gets short arms when comes time to pick up the check?  You'd think He'd reach right out, a God who has everything.

[Good and gracious God,
We lift up a prayer
for the misguided –
for those who hate
and belittle
and abuse
in your name.
For those
who wish to see
the hate go on,
the anger be fed,
the world continue
on its unsustainable path
of division and judgement.
In short,
we pray for ourselves —
for that moment of relief
we felt
when we first heard the news
that Fred Phelps
was dying.
For the way
we tried to justify
the feeling –
to justify allowing his hate
to grow into a reflection
in us.
Guide us toward lives
that more fully reflect
May we learn to replicate
the embrace you offer
to all –
the very embrace
Fred Phelps will soon know.
Create in us a spirit
that is more willing
to risk
the radical practice
of loving our enemy.
Remind us that that is the path
to healing a broken world –
that it is your desire
for us,
for our nation,
for the world.
Remind us to be
repairers of the breach
rather than those
who broaden the divide.
Teach us
that you do not call us
to love
what Fred Phelps has done.
You only call us
to love the man.
With that in mind,
we pray for him
and for forgiveness
for his hateful
and hurtful ways.
We pray for his family,
who must also
repair a breach
as they come to terms
with the passing of
their father,
former leader,
loved one.
Death seldom
comes easy,
even to the most
tortured of souls.
We pray for reconciliation.
Between us.
Between him.
Between them.
May his hateful actions
inspire us toward
a more loving response.
May our instinct to lash out b
e subdued
by our will to create a better world.
may our anger and resentment
unravel and be released
as we expand our ability
to share love
more abundantly.

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