This prayer was delivered by MCC Executive Director Rev. Jane Field in the State House of Representatives on the opening day of the legislature, January 4. All representatives and and senators also received a personal letter from the Council thanking them for their public service and encouraging them to abide by the principles of civil discourse as they work together for the common good.
Thank you, Madam Speaker. It is a special honor for me to stand in this chamber where, nearly one hundred years ago, my great-grandfather, A.E. Garnsey, served as a representative from Sanford. It feels like I’m standing on “holy ground.”
There is a story about Moses that is held sacred by many of the world’s great faith traditions—a story of Moses standing on holy ground when God speaks through the burning bush—and in the spirit of that story, in the spirit of standing on holy ground, I invite you to pray with me now:
Loving God, we ask your blessing on the members of this House and on the work they are called here to do. We give you thanks for their spirit of selfless sacrifice, their commitment to service, and their courage to lead the people of this great state we all love so dearly.
We have sent them here to seek common ground on which they can stand to work for the common good. But Lord, we confess it seems that in these days of discord and division, common ground is scarce, and getting scarcer by the minute. We pause in this moment of prayer to recognize that by its very scarcity, that because it is so rare, common ground is holy ground. And just as you called Moses to see that he was standing on holy ground, you now call these women and men. Just as you commanded Moses to show reverence and respect by removing his sandals, you command these public servants to show reverence and respect not only for you, not only for the holiness of the common ground they stand upon, but you call them to show reverence and respect for one another and for the citizens whom they represent, even when—especially when—they disagree.
Guide their words and actions in the coming months so that all they do and all they say might be rooted in respect, reverence and wisdom, thus further hallowing the common, holy ground they seek. Watch over them now, Lord, and ensure that in their work, truth prevails over distortion, wisdom triumphs over recklessness, and the concerns of every Mainer, including the poor, the vulnerable and the disenfranchised, are heard.
Sustain these representatives in their vocation, that they might dwell in your ancient promise: that they can run and not be weary, walk and not faint, as they lead us on the journey toward finding that holy, common ground to which you call us all. Amen.