Perfect love casts out fear. — 1 John 4:18
We live in fearful times.
Suicide bombers, terrorists, climate change, economic crises—
these are overwhelming realities.
Hold us in our fears.
Sometimes candidates in elections may prey on these fears.
They paint pictures of disaster—especially if we vote for their opponents.
Help us to keep our heads in such moments.
Help us to listen to each other,
to hear past the hateful words to the underlying fear.
Hold us in your love, and remind us
that you never leave us. Ever.
Help us to live into our best selves,
even as others try to bring out our most fear-driven traits.
Keep us listening respectfully,
even to those with whom we disagree.
There is room for all of us in your creation.
Thank you for your love.
May it sustain us always in working for your realm.
Prayer of Confession
O God, who casts healing light into deep and shadowed places,
We confess to finding ourselves saying hateful things out of fear of the other—
those of different skin color, religion, sexual orientation, culture,
economic status, educational level, or ability.
Notes for reflection which might be shared with a congregation…
Climate change, terrorism, people who are “not like us”: it’s a fear-filled world. In the 2016 election season, people may find themselves tempted to cast their vote for candidates who best address—by reinforcing–their worst fears. Fear often brings out our worst instincts regarding our neighbors.
But fear is a faith issue. 1 John 4:18 says, “Perfect love casts out fear.” Almost every encounter between God or an angel and a human being begins with the words, “Do not be afraid.” Many Psalms begin from a place of fear and despair but move into faith, hope, and love.
Worship Ways, an on-line worship resource from the United Church of Christ USA (UCC) provides this prayer, written collaboratively by Justice Witness Ministries UCC and Faith Formation Ministries. As you prepare for worship, you are urged by Worship Ways to “Take and adapt!” this material.