This prayer was offered on Capitol Hill, to open a luncheon sponsored by the United Nations Association at which human rights defenders were honored. The audience was primarily Hill staff, including Congressional representatives. I felt a bit paralyzed as I sought to write it, this being my first time evoking God directly in this way, in the form of prayer, to political powerbrokers and decisionmakers. Afterwards, Representative Jim Moran leaned across the table where we were sitting together and said “that was some prayer!” To which I replied “…. thanks?!”
Prayer of Invocation
United Nations Association Human Rights Luncheon
December 11, 2012
Friends, I’d like to invite all of you to join me in this invocation whatever your religious background and beliefs, or lack of identity with a faith tradition. Please forgive me my choice of words if they do not reflect what’s familiar or sacred to you. Human words are imperfect, limited – I’m reminded of that every time I try to craft a prayer. But let us be united in this invocation by the Spirit that inspires it and each of us, by whatever name you call it.
Let us pray.
God of Many Names –
Thank you – for this Most Amazing Day, and for each and every time we pause to affirm our highest ideals and to celebrate those whose efforts ensure the arc of the moral universe keeps bending us toward justice.
Draw near to us in this hour, Holy One, so that we may recognize how divine is the struggle to protect the dignity of all people, everywhere. In this hour, God, inspire us, strengthening our desire to stand with the peaceful, uplift the vulnerable, and empower the oppressed. Living Spirit, tune our ears in this hour to a frequency that rises above the clamor of sanctimonious self-serving– remind us today of our interdependence, our shared humanity, our common fate.
We give thanks for the food provided here today, and for all those who helped prepare it – from those who tilled the soil to those who worked the stovetop. May they have been paid a fair wage. Our hearts go to those around the world who yearn to eat at banquet tables such as these. May we be fed by the blessings offered today so that we might in turn feed others, dismantle the machinery of war, and pull heaven out from the cracks in this world… doing so with the trust, God, that in the end peace, love, truth, and justice prevail above all else.
We pray this be so, in your many names,