Our Pastor, Rev. Brent Damrow, was invited by Governor Deval Patrick to offer the closing prayer and benediction at the governor’s final State of the Commonwealth address on January 28, 2014. Brent previously worked with the Governor’s staff while Executive Assistant Minister at Old South Church in Boston, where he coordinated the Interfaith Worship Service as part of the Governor’s Second Inaugural Celebrations. The text of Brent’s prayer follows.
Closing Prayer and Benediction
Offered at the State of the Commonwealth Address
28 January 2014
God of all we are and all we might yet be. God of our parents’ parents and our children’s children. God of rich and poor, foolish and wise, gay and straight, powerful and powerless.
You, O God, who defy all boundaries of identity and race; you who we meet in mosque, temple, church, and all manner of holy place, we gather here in this space in profound gratitude. We give you thanks for this commonwealth and for the beauty and diversity of her people. We give you thanks for the blessings of bounty, the calling to live in covenant and the demands of discipleship.
We give you thanks for the leaders gathered here and for those all across this land who offer themselves to make Massachusetts a place of justice and joy, of abundance and hope.
On this night we thank you, God, for your son Deval, a man who has answered the call to serve as our Governor with courage, compassion, and conviction. Bless him that he might yet lead us to even greater heights.
God, we ask you to send your Holy Spirit into our hearts and minds. Inspire our old ones to see visions and our young ones to dream dreams. Make this night about more than just words; give us humility to truly listen to one another. Give us compassion that we might strive not just to our own benefit but toward the common weal. Give us strength that we might run and not grow weary, walk and not faint. Give us courage to transcend lines of party or theology, to break barriers down that we might build ideas up, build people up, build this commonwealth up.
At the close of this evening, send us forth from this great room to love and serve. Send us forth to kindle the spark you have placed in every child of your creation. Grant us eyes to see the inherent dignity and beauty of all people. Give us ears to listen to their stories and their dreams. Give us hands to serve them, to nourish and stoke their gifts until their spark burns so brightly we barely dare look.
God, help us to stand on the shoulders of our forebears in the work to make this commonwealth a beacon; a beacon to the whole world of justice, equality, camaraderie and possibility.
Sisters and brothers, the one I follow, the one I know as Jesus said this: that we ought always to pray and never faint. And so I say to you: Do not pray for easy lives; pray to be stronger women and men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your power but for power equal to your tasks.
Then the doing of your work will be no miracle, you will be that miracle. And every day you will wonder at yourself and the richness of life which has come to you by the grace of God.
So go now, go now in the blessing of peace to bring hope and love and joy. And if you are ready to join me in this prayer will you say Amen?