Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Wednesday, all day long
The Rambler has been stalking the corridors of power this morning...rather like Hamlet's father's ghost (or possibly Anne Boleyn)...
For 30 years in Prairie Metropolis, meetings of the City Council have begun with a prayer offered by a representative of one or another "faith group." In these "religion is a private matter" times, this is fairly remarkable; more remarkable is the comfortable assumption that the prayer-leaders will speak from their own conviction, understanding, tradition, while abstaining from gratuitous offence to others: Christians pray as Christians, Jews as Jews, Muslims as Muslims, and so on.
So this morning, under the combined guidance of the City Chaplain, and the Board of the Interfaith Centre for Education and Action, ten of us were assembled to open the City Council meeting with a ten-fold prayer.
Discipline was strict (but imperfectly obeyed -- hey, these are "hooman beans" after all): we were NOT to ad lib and NOT to identify ourselves and NOT to talk ABOUT our faith, just step up to the mike, pray, step out of the way.
As Prez of the City and District Council of Churches, the Rambler got to be "The Official Christian."
And this (thank goodness for the Book of Common Prayer, 1962) is what I said:
O Almighty and most merciful God, in your bountiful goodness, protect and defend us, we beseech you, from all things that may hurt us; so that we, being ready both in body and soul, may cheerfully accomplish those things that you would have us do, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
All the prayers -- Eckankar, Hindu, Baha'i, Jewish, Sikh, Unitarian, Muslim, Jain, and Zoroastrian, were lovely, and thoughtful, and concise. And Hizzonner the Mayor, having given us a lovely nibbly breakfast buffet beforehand, thanked us nicely; and all the alderpersons looked gratified and as uplifted as their natures would allow.
A pleasant way to start a day!