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Prayer for Peace with Our Neighbors

How quickly we have transitioned
From alien and stranger in this land
To Home Team Captain
From being the stranger
On Plymouth Rock (or did we arrive some other place?)
To the notion that we are entitled
To direct traffic, and pronounce:
This one clean
And that one unclean
In your eyes.

How quickly we have forgotten
The days when we were strangers
To this soil and to your Kingdom --
Not only strangers, but unrepentant enemies
Spiritually -- bent on remaining as we were
Socially -- determined to mark every tree that we passed
In our neighbors' backyard.

Yet you loved us all
In spite of us all.

Teach us, O God, your ways.
Exchange our impulse to devour and destroy
For your impulse to turn swords into plowshares and pruning hooks.
Teach us how to love enemies, to do good to those who hate us (Luke 6:27)
and to love strangers as we love ourselves (Leviticus 19:34).

Strangers become friends
And enemies become neighbors. Amen.

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