A Prayer for My Commonwealth
Last Monday, it was my great honor to offer the invocation at the annual Massachusetts State of the Commonwealth Address given by Governor Deval Patrick. Here are the words that I shared:
In the Torah portion That the Jewish people read this week We hear the story of the exodus; Specifically, the recitation of the plagues God brings down upon Egypt Calling out to Pharaoh: How long Will you refuse To humble yourself Before me? Let my people go That they may serve me… So, God, we turn to you on the occasion Of this assembly As our esteemed Governor, Deval Patrick And his colleagues Here in the chamber of our government Gather to reflect on the State of our Commonwealth Under the hopeful gaze Of the women, men and children Who live and work here In Massachusetts, And ask before you, God: Let us humble ourselves. Let us remember We are in your service; There is a higher purpose. In the scripture We read of the plague of thick darkness: …A darkness that can be touched… That descended upon all the land of Egypt For three days People could not see one another… While all the Israelites enjoyed light In their dwellings How could it be That for the Egyptians It was utter darkness But among the Hebrew slaves There was light? The rabbis teach That the darkness was caused By the Egyptians’ own Blindness They were blind To the suffering of the Hebrews! For, seeing the pain of others Rising up against injustice Reaching up for the higher purpose Brings light – While closing our eyes Can only cause darkness… Dear God, Much light has burst forth from this chamber This room, A cradle of American Democracy Where courageous representatives and senators In which bold governors Have championed the rights of all people; A body that in recent memory Became a model for the nation By guaranteeing every person access To health care By protecting the marriage rights Of all people By defending our young people From bullying and abuse These lawmakers have blazed The flaming light of justice And so our eyes are open To both the suffering And the beauty Of one another. Please God; Let not our eyes begin to close; Let not the darkness descend; Even during these painful economic times When resources seem so scarce And politics have become so cruel For the need is so very, very real. Open up our eyes, oh God, Open them wide! Let us continue to see the truth About our sisters and brothers Throughout our great Commonwealth; And let us continue to be A model for our nation Unafraid Undeterred Like the shining dome of this great hall Reflecting the midday sun From this very street So aptly named A Beacon - A Beacon of shining light Across our nation. And let us say, amen!