Prayer of the World Council of Churches Vancouver Assembly, 1983
"Eternal God whose image lies in the hearts of all people, We live among peoples whose ways are different from ours, whose faiths are foreign to us, whose tongues are unintelligible to us. Help us to remember that you love all people with your great love, that all religion is an attempt to respond to you, that the yearnings of other hearts are much like our own and are known to you. Help us to recognize you in the words of truth, the things of beauty, the actions of love about us. We pray through Christ, who is a stranger to no one land more than another, and to every land no less than another."
Today's Gospel is from Matthew 18: 15-20in which we learn how to resolve conflict. (Go alone to see what you can do & if that doesn't work? Bring witnesses & if that doesn't work? Tell the church & if that doesn't work? Treat them like a Gentile or tax collector, i.e. love them!)
"Forgiving Lord, I do not want my enemies forgiven.
I want you to kill them (as sometimes prays the psalmist!).
Actually, I would prefer to pray that you punish them
rather than kill them, since I would like to watch them suffer.
Also, I fear losing my enemies,
since my hates are more precious to me than my loves.
If I lost my hates, my enemies,
how would I know who I am?
Yet you have bent us toward reconciliation,
that we may be able to pass one another Christ's peace.
It is a terrible thing to ask of us.
I'm sure I cannot do it, but you are a wily God able to accomplish miracles.
May we be struck alive with the miracle of your grace,
even to being reconciled with ourselves.Amen."
from Prayers Plainly Spoken, by Stanley Hauerwas, p. 95