MCC at the State House to Open Legislative Session
MCC was busy in Augusta on Wednesday, January 6 as the House and Senate convened for the first day of this legislative session. A work group of our Board of Directors drafted a letter to each representative and senator, urging them to practice the principles of civil discourse and abide by the MCC Covenant. Rep. Jen DeChant and Sen. Cathy Breen sponsored distribution of the letters and we are thankful for their help. I was invited by Speaker Mark Eves to deliver the opening prayer in the House. For this week’s blog, I thought I would just include the words of that prayer in the hope that you will pray for Maine’s state legislators and also recommit yourself to practicing civil discourse when you discuss politics and public policy.
Guide and bless these women and men, sent here by the people of Maine to govern this great state. We give thanks for their dedication and commitment to public service, and for the sacrifices they make on our behalf. Grant them the wisdom, courage and patience to carry out this calling with compassion, conviction, integrity and civility. Protect us all from the sins of despair and cynicism, and remind us that politics is a noble calling to serve the common good.
Loving God, source of all truth and wisdom, watch over our state and those who govern here, that truth may prevail over distortion and wisdom triumph over recklessness. In the midst of a world rent asunder by divisions, conflicts, polarization and seemingly irreconcilable differences, help these legislators and help us, their constituents, to find a better way along a higher road, where we have the humility to remember that we have much to learn from people who see things differently than we do.
Lord, watch over these, our elected representatives. Help them…and help us…to remember that it is better to invite than to ignore, more effective to talk together than to yell at each other from a distance, more productive to open a door than to shut one.
God of justice and compassion,
God of Republicans, and Democrats, and Independents,
God of the poor, and the 1%, and the middle class,
Help us to break down the walls that divide us. Heal those here who have been hurt by adversarial rhetoric or uncivil conversation, who have heard others belittle their deepest beliefs. Forgive those here who have hurt others by using adversarial rhetoric and uncivil remarks, who have belittled the beliefs of others. Gracious God, heal what needs healing and forgive what needs to be forgiven, so we can start anew on the path to civility.
As these representatives begin a new legislative session, may we recall the words President Abraham Lincoln spoke to a nation deeply divided, threatened by schism, and seemingly unable to maintain unity: “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell again when touched by the better angels of our nature.”
It has been 155 years since those words were first spoken. But in this hour, O God, we ask that you might help us seek and find the better angels of our nature, angels who remind us we are not enemies, angels who call us to practice civility even when disagreements are most heated and differences most stark—because the work that must be carried out in these hallowed halls is too important to do otherwise.
With humility and gratitude we pray, Amen.
Rev. Jane Field