Our God, and God of all people:
We can all feel the power in this room: The power to make change.
The power to legislate.
The power to denigrate – to desecrate – to perpetuate – to change the fate of our community…
But this power is fragile: it is limited by term, tenure and temperament.
It is also illusory – for everything we do is relative to our situation and our ability to perceive the world around us.
On this beautiful morning – let us think about other kinds of power – the power that is not bestowed by the ballot box, but rather by our ability to perceive the miracles that surround us.
The rising of the sun is not affected by the pounding of the gavel.
The winds that bring desperately needed rain and snow are not dependent on rhetoric, reason or debate. Our task is to listen and perceive:
· The laughter of small children and the desperate cries of mothers and fathers who cannot feed them;
· The emptiness in the eyes of the downtrodden;
· The optimism of those who work to bring hope to the hopeless…
Help us all to make a difference, O God.
We can feel the power in this room – not because of our attempts to bring order into chaos – but because of our passion for truth, righteousness and justice.
Yesterday, our Nation took the time to remember the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King – of blessed memory.
In 1964, while accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in Stockholm, Dr. King said:
“I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind. I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. I refuse to accept the idea that the "isness" of man's present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal "oughtness" that forever confronts him. I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsom and jetsom in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.”
Dr, King understood that true power lies in our ability to see the inequities which surround us and our passion for making healthy, faithful change. May his vision, optimism, activism and spiritual depth become the measuring rod for of all our actions.
Bless this chamber, God. Bless these Senators, advisors, clerks, aides and all who labor on our behalf. May they work together to overcome the partisanship and apathy that poisons the precious opportunities that they are granted to make a difference.
We thank you for the power of partnership.
We are humbled by Your Grace.
May this be a day of change. May this be a day of hope.
And let us say:
Rabbi Joseph R. Black - Temple Emanuel, Denver, CO