The Reverend Kelly Burk, who also happens to be my wife, offered these words of invocation at today’s (lovely, well-attended, energizing, inspiring) inauguration of Richmond’s elected officials:
I invite all who wish to participate in prayer to join in these words addressed to God.
Creating and uniting God, we give thanks for your presence among us as we gather this hour to recognize and bless those elected to lead the city of Richmond. We are grateful for the privilege and responsibility of selecting those who govern us. Give us grace to put aside party loyalties and join together in the joy of this event.
In these troubled times when images of violence, prejudice and hate dominate the daily news, and when poverty, illness, grief and suffering pervade the lives of those we love, guide our leaders as they strive to govern with integrity and justice. Help them to be attentive and wise, creative and bold. Enable our leaders to propel change that benefits our city and improves the lives of all – regardless of how we look, what we believe, or who we love.
Empower us as citizens of this community to be full participants in strengthening Richmond that it may be a place of mutual support, respect, beauty, and the pursuit of the common good.
On this day of new beginnings, we pray with hope. We pray in peace. Amen.
May it be so.
(Adapted from a prayer by Laurence Hull Stookey in Let the Whole Church Say Amen! A Guide for Those Who Pray in Public, 2001 Abington Press.)
I was humbled and inspired by Kelly’s words. Not only did she exemplify the true nature of acceptance that our city should always strive to convey, she brought a true touch of class to what was already an excellent service. Thank you so much, Kelly, for your amazing words and your eager participation.