I was asked to give the prayer at the Jackson Democratic Party's annual dinner tonight. What follows is the prayer I gave.
We all pray in different ways, and we often use different words for God—God, Yahweh, Allah, and some of us pray to the Goddess, or to others, and some of us don't pray at all. But here, in this place, we all join in united hope for the needs of the people of our region, and of all of Michigan, this country, and this world, so please join with me in bowing heads or holding hands.
Spirit of Life:
Today, in this hall, we pray for the people of Michigan, this country, and the world. We pray especially for the people of this state of Michigan, whom we are all called to serve in different ways. We pray especially for those among us who are called to service in our government, that they might find the strength, throughout all the pressures they face, to follow their conscience. And we pray for Democrats and Republicans, for the rich and the poor, for gay and for straight. We pray for all races and religions, and those with no religion. We pray for the first nations people on whose land we are privileged to stand. We pray for voters and for candidates, that their minds may hear the calls of justice, and their hearts may hear the calls of compassion. We pray that those who we choose on election day to lead us will be those who can hear the voices of those struggling in our community, for jobs, for healthcare, for education.
A very wise man once told a story about a stranger, beaten, robbed, and left wounded and alone on the side of the road, and about people who passed him by without helping, and then one who did. That wise man asked those who listened to his story, who was this man’s neighbor? That man, of course, was Jesus of Nazareth, called the Messiah, and the message from that story that has lived for centuries is that we are all neighbors—not just to the person sitting next to us, with whom we might agree, but to all the citizens of our city, our state, our country, our world.
There’s a story about another wise man, one who was raised in privilege, raised to be a prince, protected from all the troubles of the world, until he went out one day and saw the suffering of the people outside the palace gates. That man left the privilege of the palace to go and seek the answers to suffering. That man, who was Siddharta Gautama, called the Buddha, and he, too, taught us about the importance of paying attention to the suffering of others, and dedicating our lives to ending suffering.
Gathered here this evening, we are united in our desire to become better neighbors to one another. We are united in our desire to end suffering. We are a people united in a common goal: to create a strong and thriving community. May we be true today to our highest callings.
Blessed be, Ashe, Shalom, and Amen