Prayer offered at Claire McCaskill’s Town Hall meeting in Springfield — March 18, 2014

by Phil Snider

I appreciated the invitation to offer the opening ecumenical prayer at Claire McCaskill’s town hall gathering earlier today at Drury University. Here’s a copy of the prayer I gave (because of time I omitted paragraphs 3-4 at the live event):

To the One who transcends all religious affiliations and languages and creeds, we take this moment to open our hearts to the call of love, justice and compassion that we sense upon our lives — a call that is found in the best expressions of our religious traditions, but of course is not confined to religious traditions.

And regardless of the name in which we pray, or if we pray at all, we come together at this time to express our deep longing and abiding hunger for love, justice and compassion to be found in our midst; for fairness, equality and opportunity for all people to be our guiding principles.

For all of the times our actions fall short of love, understanding and compassion, may we be set on right paths. For all of the times our laws fall short of the claims that justice and fairness and equality make upon our lives, may we be set on right paths. For all of the times we willingly or unknowingly participate in systems and structures that fall short of human rights and economic dignity for all people, may we be set on right paths.

More than anything, may our prayers be expressed not on our lips but rather through our actions, lest we hold our religious beliefs in vain. May we keep in mind that all people – including and especially the poor, and the vulnerable, and the citizens among us who don’t have access to the same rights and opportunities that many take for granted, whether because of socioeconomic status, skin color, sexual orientation or gender identity — way we be reminded that each person deserves our attention, our action, our voice and our care.

We give thanks for leaders with the integrity to govern not by the shallow demands of ideology or popularity but rather by the highest principles of fairness and equality, in solidarity with those they represent.

We pray these things in the name of the Love which transcends all boundaries, divides and religions and constantly seeks to usher in a better, more beautiful way of being, Amen.