Sunday, April 24, 2016

Prayer for Easter 5

based on John 13:31-35

Faithful God, we are sometimes tempted to believe that your call to love one another is an easy one. We are saturated by messages of what love is and how to show it, whether through gifts, acts of kindness, welcome displays of affection, or simply the sharing of words. We’re used to showing and receiving love, so the new commandment that Jesus gives his disciples leaves us wanting more, as if following you should be more rigorous and exclusive.

In these times, you bring attention to what love means beyond polite and considerate gestures. You point us toward people who don’t look like us. You set before us those whose identities make us uncomfortable or we don’t understand. You even show us our enemies with a reminder that Jesus said to love them as well. And you help us recall that the times when those we already say we love make mistakes or hurt us are the times when how we respond must match what we say.

It turns out that love is harder than we could imagine. And yet, grounded in what you first shared, you command us to share it with one another.

O God, give us the strength and courage to love as freely and deeply as you have loved us. Help us to be faithful in this most difficult and most precious of vocations. Amen.