We’ve had quite the morning here at the Cathedral in Phoenix. Last night, at midnight, the controversial bill SB1070 went into limited effect. Much of the bill was blocked from being enforced by an injunction issued by a local federal judge yesterday morning.
We hosted a group of community leaders who wished to have a prayer service to begin the day’s events. There were representatives from every major faith group in the city (with the exception of the Mormons I guess.) We had bishops from the Roman Catholic diocese, the Methodist, the Episcopal Church, heads of the Unitarian Church, the UCC, the Lutheran Synod, rabbis and imans. We all offered prayers, blessings or words of encouragement.
The news of the temporary injunction changed the feeling of the whole day from one of tension and possible defiance to one of thanksgiving and hope. It was extraordinary to see all the different people of faith gathered around the one altar lifting prayer to God.
This is the prayer that I wrote for today; it’s meant to remind us that God is present with us:
Almighty God, Holy ONE; we are grateful for the gift of your reconciling love in our lives. The very unity of your nature teaches us that perfect love unites all people. The story of Jesus’ triumph reminds us that love conquers all, all that would destroy and separate your children, and even your children’s anger toward you and one another.
Thank you for being present with us in this moment, in these days. Let us feel your holy love suffusing our lives and let it empower our actions today. Make us instruments of your peace. Give us words of hope to speak to a community of your children which has become divided and is in despair.
As you sent your Holy Spirit to the Prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah, to your poet King David, to the Blessed Mother who sang Magnificat, so too send your spirit to us today. Let the Spirit strengthen our resolve to proclaim peace, to proclaim love, to proclaim HOPE.
For you are our Hope. And you have shown us again and again that in you, and in the reconciliation you desire for your children, our Hope will never be in vain.
We pray these words, in the power of your Spirit, to you the Lord of all people and of all ages, in whom there is no East or West, no North or South, no Jew or Greek, no male or female, no slave nor free, but one great fellowship of love finding its unity in thee.
There was a rather large press contingent here today. I’ll try to find links to some of the coverage and update this post with them as I have time.