For Our Enemies

This week I’ve been meditating and praying the Prayer for Our Enemies found in the Book of Common Prayer (US Version). In our dialogues with (and diatribes against) our enemies, we can forget their humanity, and our own.

O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth: deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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  1. john on January 24, 2006 at 8:30 am Reply

    Thank you, Peterson. I’ve been thinking about this more and more, particularly in my study of Matthew 25:31-46ish.

    I’m hearing the call into radical servanthood, to create bonds of service, even with those with whom my spiritual pride finds serious fault. The Acts of Mercy described in this parable seem to point to a single underlying directive: to befriend all of those held captive and beaten down by hunger, oppression, fear, or anger. By submiting to bonds of service, we discover a humanizing and moralizing light that can overcome the shadow of moral paralysis, spiritual pride, and the yetzer hara.

    As an instruction it seems so clear and simple, and hopeful. While other kinds of peace activism can be symbolic and comfortably distanced, this puts us right in the middle of human suffering, and calls us to endure sacrifice in order to redeem others from the dehumanizing forces around us. This is the core of my friend Tom Fox‘s work in Iraq, and something that seems to demand our attention for continuing witness on his behalf.

    Applying it demands a lot of creativity-on-the-run, difficult reflection, and prayerful consideration. It is so much easier to condemn others, and demand that others create justice, to post yard signs and bumper stickers, write checks, and indignant letters to Washington. While those things can contribute to advancing peace & justice, it seems that we are in much greater need of the germane acts of love and fellowhsip.

    I am really struggling on this. I am grateful for all of your attention and ministry to this concern.

    loving regards,
    john paul

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