Fourth Week of Lent: A prayer from Walter Brueggemann

The following prayer is excerpted from Prayers for a Privileged People by Walter Brueggemann (11-2). Though the prayer is not liturgically located, it dovetails nicely with my recent reflections on sin posted here and therefore seemed apt to me as we continue our journey Calvary bound.

Perfectly Love

We pray as often as we meet,
that we might “perfectly love you.”
Indeed, we have been commanded from the beginning,
to love you with all our hearts and
all our souls and
all our minds and
all our strength.

We have pledged to love,
pledged in our prayers and in our baptism,
in our confirmation and with our best resolve.

But we confess . . .
we love you imperfectly;
we love you with a divded heart,
with a thousand other loves
that are more compelling
with reservation and qualification,
and passion withheld and
devotion impaired.

We do not now come to pretend before you,
but to confess that we do not,
as we are,
love you perfectly;
we do not keep your commands;
we do not order our lives by your purpose;
we do not tilt toward you as our deepest affection.

But we would . . .
we would love you more perfectly,
by the taste of bread become your flesh,
by the swallow of wime become your blood,
by the praise of our lips and beyond our usual reasoning,
by the commandments that are not burden but joy to us,
by embracing your passion for neighbors,
by your ways of justice and peace and mercy,
by honoring the world you have made
and all creatures great and small,
by self-care that knows you as our creator.

Lead us past our shabby compromises
and our cheap devotion;
lead us into singleness of vision
and purity of heart,
that we may will one thing,
and answer back in love to your great love to us.

Free us from idolatries
and out habits of recalcitrance
tender our hearts,
gentle our lips,
open our hands,
that we may turn toward you fully
toward your world unguardedly.

Let us bask in your freedom
to be fully your, and
so trusting fully our own.
We pray through the Lord Jesus who loved you
singularly, perfectly, fully—to the end.

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