by Rev. Gregory Gross - Read the full 40 Days of Prayer
God of grace and mercy, healing and hope,
There are times when our stuff gets in the way of your calling.
Many times we know how you’d like us to react but our own
discomforts and uneasiness cloud your vision for us. We know
you to be a welcoming God perfectly exemplified in the person
of Jesus, the one we call Christ. One who extends grace to all
people, even in crossing societal norms; yet, we find yours a
difficult example to follow.
O God, too often this is the case when we talk about HIV and
AIDS. We’d rather not think about how it was contracted, but
at the same time that is all we can think about. Too often we
get caught up in a spirit of retributive justice, a “you got what’s
coming to you” mentality, rather than responding out of the
grace that was first extended to us.
Help us, Gracious One, to truly follow the ways of the One
who healed without question, even on the Sabbath, instead of
perpetuating a culture of “unclean” lepers. And challenge us
to accept that our passing judgment against segments of our
society contribute to new HIV infections rather than reducing
them. Open our eyes—give us 20/20 vision—so that we may
see that racism, homophobia, bi-phobia, and trans-phobia,
in addition to a general reluctance to talk about sex in the
church, are all complicit in the continuing rise of HIV-infection
rates among young gay men and transgender women of color.
May your Holy Spirit comfort those who are hurting and
dis-comfort those of us who are complicit in their dis-ease. In
your healing and mercy, Amen.
. . .The Rev. Gregory Gross, LCSW, AM, MDiv, Deacon, Northern Illinois Annual Conference, Clinical Manager of the HIV Testing & Prevention Program, Center on Halsted, Chicago, IL