Grace and Peace to you.
In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel with him; they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. It happened, late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. David sent someone to inquire about the woman. It was reported, “This is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” So David sent messengers to get her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. … [When David heard that Bathsheba was pregnant he had her husband killed (endangering his army in the process) and married her.]
—2 Samuel 11. 1-4
How easily we who have power abuse it. In the spring, because we can, we go off to war and ravage others. Of course we send others to do our violence. From our lofty places of power, because we can, we take people into our desires. Their own lives and loves matter little, only ours. In our palaces of fear, because we need to, we build lies to protect us, and construct elaborate defenses to protect our lies, and we use other people’s lives as the bricks of our defenses. And this seems right to us. We do it as individuals, as groups, as a nation.
Most of us don’t rape and murder, but in our own ways we all use people. In our minds we make them less than real, less than whole, so that all they represent to us us is either what we want or what we fear. Reduced to objects, we use them as it seems to us they were meant to be used. It seems right to us. Power distorts our vision. It is only with love that we can truly see people, see reality.
God, we confess our abuse of power, our blindness to our selfishness and fear.
We confess that we sometimes see others not as real people but as projections of our fears and desires.
We confess that we are often unaware of the power we wield, the privilege we abuse, the people we hurt.
We confess that we excuse the abuse committed by our heroes.
We ask forgiveness, and pray that you will open our eyes.
We pray for healing, courage and grace for victims of abuse,
for victims of rape,
for victims of murder, war and violence.
We pray for all those whom we dehumanize to protect our sense of security.
We pray for the healing of our worship of power.
We pray for the gifts of humility, honesty and compassion.
We pray for the mending of the world.