Let us pray. Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the Universe. Today we lift up those who are consumed by anger – those that feel the need to lash out against Christians they see as being different and believing different. You are a God of love. Yet, so many of your so-called followers would rather focus on your wrath and punishment. They create you in their own image – an image of anger and fear. An image based on violence and force. Yet, you are a God of love and faith. Have mercy on those who are angry Lord. Calm them with your Spirit. Envelope them with your peace. Let them experience the peace of Christ that surpasses understanding. Let them experience your forgiveness. Let them follow Jesus command to put the sword away so that they may not perish at the end of the sword – the sword of iron or the sword of words. Let peace reign. Amen.
Holy God of grace, today we lift up all who claim to be your followers. Following you is not easy. Following you means following the things we agree with and the things we find especially difficult. It means offering grace and peace to those who would persecute and vilify. We pray that you would touch the hearts of those who wish to tear down the ELCA rather than build up the body of Christ. Help us to be graceful to them and act with peace. We pray that your grace would touch them also so that they might also act with grace towards those they disagree with. You are the holder of ultimate truth Lord, not us. Remind us all of this. Allow humility to flow through us – especially when we think it is us saving others. Only you can save. You call on us to serve. And to offer what you first give to others – grace, peace, mercy, and love. Amen.
Let us pray. God of peace, we pray that your peace would sweep over Dan and all who need your peace. So often, so many, like Dan, find it easier to wage war on supposed enemies of you, Holy God. They think they are doing the right thing. Yet, they have lost sight of the humanity of those being attacked. When we turn right belief into the most important thing, then we lose sight of the humanity of people around us, the relationships that are being broken. We pray this prayer of peace for Dan, but also for us. Guide us in our interaction with those who do not desire peace. Make us instruments of your peace that they may know peace. Amen.
Let us pray. Wondrous God, we lift up Dan and all who feel the need to attack a fellow Christian denomination. We understand that he and others like him are doing this because they feel they must save everyone from damnation. Except they forget that it is not them, but you that save people. We are incapable of saving people. You call us to love our enemies, yet when we look around, all we see is hatred – hatred from Dan and other and hatred of Dan and others. Make this insanity stop. If we really embrace what you teach us, then we would see how crazy this is. Lead us to be the first to change the tone, to change the conversation, to change interaction. And if that can’t be done, then Lord help us – just separate us from each other until there are others mature enough to co-exist in the same space without hatred. Amen.
Let us pray. Today we lift up Dan. We pray that you would soften his heart and radically reorient him back to yourself, oh Holy God. In his effort to bring everyone into right belief, he doesn’t realize that he pushes people further away. In response, so many fight with him and push him further away. There is a better way Lord – touch the lips and fingers of all who would interact with Dan. Show him your love, grace, and mercy, so that he may know these aspects of you first hand. And in so doing, may they touch his very soul and make him an instrument of your peace. Amen.
Let us pray. Merciful God, we pray for Dan Skogen. We ask that you touch and heal his heart from whatever wounds he has suffered and have caused him to lash out against some of your church. We pray for those who have been hurt by Dan, comfort them in their sorrow. We thank you for the grace, mercy, and forgiveness that you give us Lord. Let us be instruments of these heavenly things in our relations with Dan. Make us instruments of your peace as well – we know that peace is a choice and a way of life. Give us the courage to live peaceably and to show love, even when it is most difficult to do. And in so doing, let your light shine forth in our lives to be an example of a different way of living life – a life that thrives with you as the center. Amen