Prayer to forgive – from the 2014 ecumenical Pride service

During our local Pride week last year, people of faith – LGBTQ people and allies – came together for an ecumenical prayer service. This is the prayer that I offered there. The current turmoil about Religious Freedom Restoration Acts in Indiana, Arkansas, and elsewhere brings to mind the state of heart that went into this prayer.

Gracious and loving God,

This is hard. Forgiveness is hard.

We know you have called us to forgive – to forgive ourselves, to forgive our neighbors and our families, those close to us. And even – especially – to forgive our enemies.

And we know that is not always easy.

For a long time our communities of faith were one of those enemies.

God, we thank you that some churches and synagogues, and temples and mosques and other communities of faith have to see us – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer – whatever label you choose – to see us all as precious children of God, fully included in your love. We are grateful for this. From out of pain, may we find forgiveness and new relationship.

God, we also know that many communities of faith do not seek our forgiveness, for they see nothing for which they must atone.

Yet God you ask us to forgive them too. This is difficult. It is risky. It is a constant process, not a single place at which we arrive.

God, help us to forgive them. Not to cease holding them accountable, but to practice a continual forgiveness. Because we know what bitterness does to our hearts. And that we are called to something better.

Help us to forgive them because they know not what they do.

Wrap us in your loving heart, oh God and carry us along in your example.

This we ask in the name of all that is holy.