I was asked to offer the invocation at today’s city council meeting. Apparently out church had dropped out of rotation at some point, and someone in the city office noticed last month. I said “of course” since I am always looking for opportunities to connect with the larger community.
I made my way over to City Hall a little early, met the council members and mayor, got my instructions and found a seat. I offered my prayer (below) and sat down to watch the proceedings.
There was a long discussion around the city recreation department’s proposed fee structure for youth sports. So long and robust, in fact that I had to leave at the break and didn’t see the vote.
As I drive back to the church, it struck me. I was really enjoying that meeting. Just like I enjoy a session meeting or a Preabytery meeting. There is something about the energy in a room where people are working to find a solution to a problem that affects a community- whether municipal, ecclesiastical or organizational. Then there is the opportunity to collaborate with people beyond your usual area, like the folks I met today who are leading a task force in a part of town just south of our church.
Yes, I am that meeting nerd. God help me.
Anyway, here’s the prayer:
We give thanks today for men and women who answer the call to public service, taking on the mantle of leadership beyond their own families and bearing responsibility for the community at large.
We give thanks as well for the model of leadership and the teaching that you provided through your own Son, Jesus.
Throughout his ministry, he made clear that the way of leadership is the way of love, of self-sacrifice, of compassion. Through his teachings, he made clear that your commandment to act justly and love mercy is still very much in effect. Through his obedience, he modeled what it means to walk humbly in your pathways.
We ask Lord, that you tune the hearts of these leaders to yours, that their eyes would be open to the needs of every neighborhood in this city, and that their ears would hear the voices of all the households they represent, including those at the margins, the youngest, the oldest, and the most vulnerable among us.
We ask you to pour out your Spirit in this place, drenching us all in your grace, that we might know what it means to love our neighbors in word and deed, even in the process of governing.
In the name of the one who healed the lame, gave sight to the blind, fed the hungry and set captives free from all manner of bondage, Jesus the Christ, we pray.