The Purity of Hate


25 Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, 26 “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, “This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. 33 So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions. Luke 14: 25-33

When we’ve allowed the image of God imprinted on our souls
to be disfigured by social and economic pressures,
by the fear and doubt we coddle in our hearts,
by the desire to be liked.
When those sharp jags and rough edges that make disciples
eventually become smoothed and rounded over time
by the steady drip of compromises we make in life to keep peace.
When the deadly burden of our possessions keep us isolated, deadened, and unhappy
and the injury and violation we allow to mar our souls becomes too awful to contemplate,
save us, O God.

Don’t let our souls harden in the dry shell of despair,
but let us feel the purity of hate-
for the compromises we make,
and for the fear and doubt,
and for what we allow to happen to us.
For this is not your will O Lord,
and it is right and salutary to hate that which disfigures the soul,
and keeps us from loving you with our whole hearts.
Let hatred cleanse our spirits,
but not devour us.

And when the costs are weighed and options considered,
give us the courage to place our crosses on our shoulders,
and follow you
wherever you lead in the strange colors of your wonder.
Help us find our way
as we slide our hands across strange walls,
and grope through the darkness
towards the fullness of life,
towards courage of faith and kindness of heart,
towards the love of God
which surpasses all understanding.
Help us find our way to the priceless joy
that comes through self-forgetting love
and forsaking all that we have for your sake.


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