Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Rev. Gene Robinson's Prayer for Barack Obama:

Whether you consider yourself a person of faith or not, this is a powerful prayer. Robinson eloquently drives home just how much is at stake in the coming four years while also reminding all of us to have patience: Barack Obama is just one man, and he won't be able to fix everything overnight. Keep Rev. Robinson's words in mind as you watch history being made on this extraordinary day:
A Prayer for the Nation
and Our Next President, Barack Obama

By The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire

Opening Inaugural Event
Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC
January 18, 2009

Welcome to Washington! The fun is about to begin, but first, please join me in pausing for a moment, to ask God’s blessing upon our nation and our next president.

O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will…

Bless us with tears – for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women from many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.

Bless us with anger – at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Bless us with discomfort – at the easy, simplistic “answers” we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth, about ourselves and the world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

Bless us with patience – and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be “fixed” anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.

Bless us with humility – open to understanding that our own needs must always be balanced with those of the world.

Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance – replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences, and an understanding that in our diversity, we are stronger.

Bless us with compassion and generosity – remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable in the human community, whether across town or across the world.

And God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States.

Give him wisdom beyond his years, and inspire him with Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for ALL the people.

Give him a quiet heart, for our Ship of State needs a steady, calm captain in these times.

Give him stirring words, for we will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.

Make him color-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.

Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.

Give him the strength to find family time and privacy, and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods.

And please, God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we’re asking FAR too much of this one. We know the risk he and his wife are taking for all of us, and we implore you, O good and great God, to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand – that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace.

You can hear the speech in its entirety here.


Scott said...

Colleen - thanks so much for posting Rev. Robinson's impassioned words. Brilliance.

Oh, and as the saying goes . . . from his mouth to (insert deity of choice) ears!

annerallen said...

Amen. Thanks.

Karen C said...

"Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance – replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences, and an understanding that in our diversity, we are stronger."

I can't say I thought of it before. But I totally agree that "tolerance" can hide a lot of smugness. "Putting up with people" instead of caring about them.
Please deliver me from mere tolerance.

And please, Dear God, keep Obama (and all his family) safe.

Rhonda Parrish said...

That is beautiful.

And I say that as an atheist.

Sarahlynn said...

I'm a big Robinson fan, and I LOVED the way he handled the whole kerfuffle about his wonderful prayer being broadcast (or not) with such incredible dignity. Instead of turning it into something negative, he just said that - after all - it was a prayer to God and God heard. Amen!