A Prayer for the Nation and Our Next President, Barack ObamaBy The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire
Opening Inaugural EventLincoln 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
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.
– at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants,
women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
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.
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.
– open to understanding that our own needs must always be balanced with those
of the world.
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.
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.
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
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.
reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither
red nor blue states, but the United
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.
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.
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.
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