On January 11th I was honored to spend the afternoon in the NJ State House where I was privileged enough to offer the opening prayer for the Senate Session.
Republicans to my right and Democrats to my left, leather seats and dark suits, and stained glass windows that traced the ceiling, telling stories of NJ’s history. I had never been in such an environment before. At least not as a vocal participant and certainly not with a chair or microphone of my own.
I thought of you all – the friends and members of UUCWC. I took seriously that I am your minister and that by standing before the NJ Senate for my literal two minutes, I not only represented clergy, or Unitarian Universalists, but our congregation specifically with my presence and words. I’m not sure anyone truly “heard” me, but I thought of you and I hoped my prayer was an extension of yours.
Here is what I said:
Please join me in the spirit of prayer, meditation, or contemplation –
Amid all the noise in our lives, the tiresome work, the shoulders heavy with expectation, let us take this moment to center ourselves, to experience a moment of silence, to consider first that we have been given this day – with this people – for this effort – in this time.
Deep spirit of life and connection, may we greet this time of work with thanksgiving and attention. For we are the agents of those who cannot speak. For we are the workers for those who cannot work. For we allow action, and healing, and resolve to come in times of unrest.
May we bring into this space our woundedness, our forgiveness, our sorrows. For through these the work of humans will be the work for humanity.
May we bring into this space our joys, our celebrations, our stories of connection. For through these the work of optimism will be the actionable work of hope.
Spirit of all that is holy and good, may these walls echo with the sacred work of justice and respect today. And may the women and men who fill these seats, be inspired by the call, and the charge, and the creative power of which they are but a part.
May it be so. May we make it so. And Blessed be.