Three public prayers were given so far as a part of Barack Obama's inaugration.
The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson prayed for a President.
He invoked prayers for the trials that will certainly face any President and the nation that he will govern. A man with whom I live called it a "downer." Well we live in uncertain times, made more uncertain by the President who was flown away today. We live in scary times, made more frightening by the way we have treated the gifts of a gracious God, by the arrogance with which we have presented ourselves to the world.
The new President acknowledged this when he talked about how we must balance more carefully our mission with our ideals. We know how to be better citizens of the world. Gene Robinson prayed us into a new understanding and sensitivity of our ideal. His prayer left room for all Americans to become a part of this.
The Rev. Joseph E. Lowery prayed for a Nation.
Lowery talked about how far we have come. He told in what some have called a "racist" way that electing a black president is not the end of the journey. After giving thanks, he said, "We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to give back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right,"
He is not a young man and needs to apolgize to no one for a lack of political correctness. He has payed his dues. I cannot speak as an Asian or Native American, but as a white man I pray that white people will embrace a President of Color!
The Rev. Rick Warren prayed for a Christian America.
He was an embarrassment. He excluded a huge portion of America and the vast majority of the world. Without an iota of sensitivity to "other," he moved us back into what the Christian Right wants. Prayer in schools. The Ten Commanadments in court houses. There are so many wonderful inclusive prayers that are already written, if he was just to lazy to spend some time crating his own. The prayer attributed to St. Francis comes to mind. With a little paraphrasing it becomes:
God of many understandings, make The President an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let him sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine One, grant that our Nation may not
so much seek to be understood as to understand;
to be respected as to respect.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in being empathetic that we live in peace. Amen