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In the weeks ahead, we will be highlighting one of the many resources on the Fourth Church website that is available to you for your personal reflection
and prayer life: the collection of the Prayers of the People
offered during Sunday morning worship.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 13:1–13
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. (NRSV)

Almighty God, out of love and for love you have created us. You have endowed us with hearts that beat not just to live, but to live for one another. While we know that love is our highest calling, we confess that it is also our hardest.

It is harder to be loving than to move mountains, than to speak in the tongues of angels, than to give away all our possessions. And yet you call us to this task. You command it. You command us to forgive our enemies out of love; to welcome the stranger out of love; to care for the sick, visit the prisoner, and clothe the naked out of love. You call us to be peacemakers because of love.

And so we pray to you, God, for love. We know that our love for your world is small; make it big, for we want to learn to love those beyond our homes, beyond our neighborhoods, beyond our churches, beyond our borders. We want our love to make a difference for people whose hardships are heartbreaking. We pray for the displaced and injured, for the oppressed, for those who suffer. Let love make the difference.

In our own lives, too, we pray that your love make all the difference. We have trouble forgiving those closest to us, and sometimes we struggle to forgive ourselves. We hold onto resentments and feel helpless in our estrangements. Help us to trust that your love leaves nothing the same, that by your love all our relationships may be made whole. In our daily living, may we trust that love recreates all things.

Almighty God, until that day when your heaven and earth are a new creation, pour out your love upon us, that we might feel it, share it, and be empowered by it.

We pray this for the sake of your Son, who taught us also to pray, saying Our Father . . .

Offered as the Prayers of the People by Joyce Shin,
Associate Pastor for Congregational Life,
on Sunday, November 10, 2013

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