"Beloved, let us love one another" 1 John 4:7

copyright: Jacob Haywood

Today’s lectionary reading is from 1 John 4: 7-10

7 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love… 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.

Here are some prayers from Inclusive Church for Epiphany, which we celebrated on Sunday:

You share your love with every people;

we draw limits of race and creed.

Lord have mercy

You immerse yourself in love of life;

we hold back in fear and shame.

Christ have mercy

You change the water into wine;

we refuse to let our hearts be moved.

Lord have mercy

Christ has broken down the dividing wall that made us strangers to one another;

he has made us one humanity

that God might be all in all;

he is our life, our hope, our peace.

A poem

by Christopher Herbert, entitled Hedgehogs:

The hedgehogs

come snuffling and scuffling

through the garden

like old men walking along a path

Lord, thank you for the strangeness of hedgehogs.

At the beginning of this new year, we thank God for all that comes from the edges of our understanding and experience; and for all that challenges us from the highways and along the hedgerows, pointing us to deeper ways to love and pray. May we walk a wiser path and delight in your presence with us O God. When we feel our own prickliness to difference and put limits on your love, speak to us by your Spirit and immerse us in your love for all you have made and all who seek you. Christ, be our peace. Amen.

Steven Shakespeare, Prayers for an Inclusive Church, Canterbury Press 2008, p.149

Christopher Herbert, Prayers for Children, The National Society and Church House Publishing, 1993, p.48

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