Last night I gave the invocation at the Troy City Council. It was a first for me. I've long resisted doing so, but due to the fact that the Council was going to recognize our congregation for 30 years of ministry in Troy, it was something I needed to do. I have no clue as to the impact of such a prayer on political leaders who often consider political expediency above all else. Our city is at a difficult juncture. It is a relatively affluent community. Bank and manufacturing headquarters are here, and yet the City Manager is suggesting that to balance the budget the Community Center, the Library, the Museum, etc. be closed, the Community Affairs department (down to one hard working person) would be eliminated and parks and rec would also be on the chopping block. The alternative is to raise taxes a bit. I'm not thrilled about paying more taxes, but I'm not thrilled about seeing important contributors to community life eliminated. Thus, my hope is that this was not simply a perfunctory prayer offered because it was my duty as part of the civil religion establishment, but as a heartfelt prayer for the community in which I live and work. So, with that in mind, I share my prayer.
God of all peoples.
We pray for your blessing upon the community of Troy and on its leaders, especially those who serve on the City Council. May they be attentive to the needs of all people and recognize the seriousness of their calling to serve the community as a whole.
In lifting up the Council, we pray for:
- Guidance in difficult times and when difficult decisions need to be made.
- The ability to listen to all people and not just those who shout the loudest, remembering that it is often the quietest of voices that offer words of wisdom.
- The courage to do what is needed, even if it is not the popular choice or the politically expedient choice.
- Sufficient grace so as to treat others, especially those with whom one might disagree, with respect and with honor.
In lifting up the community of Troy, we pray for:
- Those who serve their community in employed and volunteer capacities;
- Those who are working and those without work;
- The homeless and the well-housed;
- The fulfilled and the frustrated;
- Those angrily scrawling on walls, or reading the writing on the wall;
- The lonely or those living in community;
- Those who mourn and those who celebrate.As decisions are made, may we remember the call to be the keeper of our brother and our sister. That we might understand that we are all one human community, no matter ethnicity, age, station in life, or gender. May we find unity in our diversity of backgrounds, gifts, and concerns. So that the good of all might be achieved.
This we pray in the hope that justice and mercy may be served to the ends of our days. Amen
Parts of this prayer are based on a prayer for the cities found in Chalice Worship, (Chalice Press, 1997)