by Kerry Walters
Lord, we are a mighty empire,
proud of our arms and our wealth.
We fancy they make us independent.
We believe they are signs of our righteousness.
But arms and wealth -- they are idols,
abominable in your sight.
They stunt our hearts and bind our spirits.
They breed fear, distrust, arrogance, greed.
The temple we have raised for them is called
We are prisoner-priests within its walls.
Move us this day, good Lord,
to yearn for real independence.
Open our eyes to our self-imposed shackles.
Rip asunder the veil of our temple-fortress.
Stir our hearts, that we might seek
vulnerability rather than power
service rather than dominion
peace rather than war
reconciliation rather than preemption.
Inspire us to witness to the world by
demolishing our killing instruments of war
giving our wealth to the needy
practicing apostolic simplicity
forgiving our debtors
and renouncing our mania to be a superpower.
Let us repent of empire, gracious God,
that we might embrace your Kingdom. Amen.
The Rev. Kerry Walters is an ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church, peace activist, author, and co-editor of Episcopal Peace Witness.