+Gene Robinson’s Prayer for President-elect Barack Obama

by

A Prayer for the Nation and Our Next President, Barack Obama

(Also available on You Tube).

By The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire

Opening Inaugural Event

Lincoln 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 next president.

O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will…

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.

Bless us with anger – at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Bless us with 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.

Bless us with 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.

Bless us with humility – open to understanding that our own needs must always be balanced with those of the world.

Bless us with freedom 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.

Bless us with 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.

And God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he 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 the people.

Give him a quiet 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.

Make him color-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.

Help him remember his 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.

Give him the strength 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.

And please, God, keep 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.

AMEN.

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Tom Morgan
Guest
Tom Morgan

I find it incredibly disappointing, but not at all surprising, that HBO failed to broadcast Bishop Robinson's invocation. There is no excuse for this and it is just one more example of trying to silence gay and lesbian people. As far as I am concerned, the invitation to give the invocation was a hollow gesture. One thing is for sure NO ONE IS GOING TO NOT broadcast the invocation that the bigoted, narrow minded Rick Warren is going to give.

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Peter Carey
Guest

Wow, too bad that this wonderful prayer wasn't included in HBO's coverage, and I hadn't heard about the technical problems with the speaker. I too, am hoping that some coverage will prop up on youtube !

Peter+

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Jim Naughton
Guest

NY Times live blog:

Reverend V. Gene Robinson, the openly gay bishop from New Hampshire who advised Mr. Obama on gay rights issues, gave the invocation. But his words were lost to hundreds of thousands gathered along the Reflecting Pool and those tuning in on HBO. A malfunction in at least one massive speaker tower on the south side of the memorial left tightly-packed crowds on pins and needles chanting thunderously, “We can’t hear. We can’t hear.”

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Baba Yaga
Guest

HBO did not broadcast the part of the event that included +Gene's prayer - the first half hour, I guess - so I am checking Youtube every hour or so to see if it appears. Unfortunately, Beyonce seems way more popular. Go figure.

-Pamela Grenfell Smith

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Peter Macinnis
Guest
Peter Macinnis

At last, the sort of decent and caring USA that we in the rest of the world can look up to!

I was a teenager in 1961, but I still remember the hope we felt then. I got my hope out today, and dusted it off. I truly believe that it will be safe.

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