Almighty and Gracious God, we come in joy to worship You. Every creature, every rock, every grain of sand proclaims Your glory. You are infinitely mighty, infinitely loving and infinitely merciful. You are He who created the universe. You are He who brought Your people out of Egypt. You are He who redeemed us from our sins through the death and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus. You are He who will remake heaven and earth. You are He who will wipe away all tears from our eyes and dwell with us.
But God, Father, Lord, we come to you today afraid. Afraid for our city and country, for people that are marginalized and excluded, those that are devastated by drugs or mental instability. We are afraid for them, that they are cold and alone, and yes, Father, we are often afraid of them as well. That the violence that has been done to them will spread to us, that we or people we love will be brought into that darkness. We see people going about their daily lives in places all over our country, most recently in Las Vegas, who are suddenly cut down, mercilessly. And we grieve. And we rage. And we are afraid.
We are afraid of our world. Of monsters half a world away or next door to us that want to do us harm. Of monsters in our capitols who we believe want to subjugate us, to hurt us, to take things away from us. And we lash out at each other, for believing in these monsters too much, or not enough. For supporting people we hate and not supporting people we love. And we hate each other for it, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. We want to scream and yell and kick and hit or even throw up our hands and give up because we are overwhelmed by our fear, our hate, ourselves. We know we aren’t supposed to hate, even a little, but we do. And we are so grieved by it that it’s hard to even bring ourselves to you in prayer because we cannot be still long enough to talk to our Father. We can’t be quiet, be still, we can’t listen for your voice.
And Father, we are afraid of each other. We are afraid to share our pain with others in our community, lest we be seen as deficient, not good enough. We’re afraid to share our unbelief, our concerns, even our thoughts about who you are, for the overwhelming fear that we will be rejected, alone, exiled. So we hide our true selves and present only a carefully curated, scrubbed-clean version of who we are to our friends, our family. We pretend to be whole even though we are utterly broken. Because we’re afraid. We are afraid that we’ll be found out as frauds, as unloveable by others and by you.
And we’re afraid of you, Lord. Not the awesome, trembling fear of the creator of the universe, but the secret, shameful fear that we aren’t actually loved. That you won’t wipe away our tears because, somedays, Lord, the tears just don’t stop. That if you really loved us, you’d act as we’d act. You’d make sure that your children feel your loving embrace. That you’d comfort us. And we’re even afraid to say that, Lord, that you promise to be with us always, but often you seem so very far away. And that scares us, Lord, because we think you don’t love us. And we think it’s because of something we did. Of everything we do. Of who we are.
Come, Lord Jesus. Come to this place today and refresh us. Rebuild us. Put it in our hearts to believe your promises, relieve our suffering. Replace our fear with hope. Comfort us, and help us to comfort others. Help us to know of your love, that we are not alone, that even when we are afraid or angry or filled with unbelief, that we are in your loving embrace. That we can lean on each other. That until you come in glory to remake heaven and earth and to wipe away every tear, that we can cry with you and with each other. That we can wipe away some of those tears from each other’s eyes and rejoice in our love for creation and for each other. And rejoice in our love for you, Lord, because we do love you even when we don’t understand you. We love you with our broken, imperfect, angry, fearful love. Hear the prayers of your people, your children, those who love you.
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
— Written by Scott Bowman for Intown Church