Holiness in our Midst: Session 117

Holiness in our Midst


Story Circle Prompt: Share a story that sheds light on how to love your enemies.

Today, animosities abound between (and among) political parties, races, family members and ideological groups. Powerful forces even foment divisions, encouraging us to aggressively go after “the other” as an actual enemy. No wonder people are seeking examples of peacemaking in the face of incivility. Have you ever succeeded in really loving an enemy?

I’ve only been able to muster a respectful tolerance for those groups and persons with whom I disagree. I did, however, witness a model for loving enemies worthy of sharing. It is from my time as coordinator for mission connections for our Church of the Brethren denominational office. In 2002, I was on a Faith Expedition in southern Sudan. That Sunday morning our group worshipped in an Anglican church. Our contribution was forming ourselves into a choir and singing: “It is Well with Your Soul.” The truly unforgettable moment, though, was when a woman in a flowing white dress, the drummer in the praise band, rose and offered Prayers of the People. 

She prayed for the congregation, of course. But then, she offered prayers for their enemies: that those with who attacked them would know prosperity, that their crops would thrive, that their children and grandchildren would live in safety and that love would abound in their lives. It was a prayer of pure goodwill for those with whom her village was constantly at war. No mention that God should punish or inflict suffering upon the people who had killed their loved ones or for the Almighty to restore the enemies once they righted their wrongs. Hers was a true Prayer for Peace. 

I’ve carried the image of the Prayer of the Woman in White as a model for loving my enemies through the years. Perhaps the time has come to put it into action in my own life.


  1. Read the above reflection. In your journal, answer the following: Have I ever succeeded in loving an enemy? Seen love in action from those experiencing adversity?

       1.   Read aloud Session CXVII.

       2.   Ask each person to answer the Story Circle Prompt

[View Past Sessions Here]

Note: Holiness in Our MidstSharing Our Stories to Encourage and Heal is a monthly on-line feature created by Janis Pyle to facilitate sharing of our personal experiences, thoughts, beliefs, and spiritual practices with one another, especially through stories. Barriers are broken down when we begin to see all persons, even those with whom we disagree ideologically, as sacred and constantly attended to by a loving Creator. Each column is accompanied by a “story circle” prompt and study guides for personal and group reflection. To share your stories, contact Hannah Button-Harrison at communications@nplains.org. Janis Pyle can be reached at janispyle@yahoo.com.

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