A prayer for our enemies:
“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.”
(Book of Common Prayer, pg. 816)
I may only consider myself still Christian in the most nominal of ways, but this prayer from the BCP (Book of Common Prayer) speaks more deeply to me in this time when our nation is processing the death of Osama bin Laden. I find the country’s current mood of celebration and talk of winning to be deeply disturbing. The fact that many who are cheering the loudest are also those who most loudly proclaim this to be a Christian nation is not only dangerous but also displays a widespread lack of understanding of the message of forgiveness that Jesus came to share.
It grieves me to watch our response. And it causes me worry for the future health of our nation. Not only have become like the enemies we so vilify in loudly and publicly celebrating the death of one who opposed us, we are also opening ourselves up for greater hatred and retaliation from those whose leader’s death we cheer.
I cannot change our country’s response, no matter how much it grieves me. I can change myself, though, by working to ensure that I grow in my ability to treat all with loving kindness, to see that there is no “other” and no enemy, to see that we are all one.
“I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.
I highly recommend Susan Piver’s (beautiful) post Osama bin Laden is dead. One Buddhist’s response. as a place to begin considering how we can all step away from this cycle of war and start creating a new reality of peace.
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