January 16, 2011
First Congregational Church
Speaker No. 4 – Dianne O’Connell
Our speakers today have honored three human rights workers of our past – a Native Alaskan woman, a Caucasian woman, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We all know that there are many, many others who have walked this walk – sometimes at great personal risk -- and we honor them today, as well. They are men, they are women, they are persons from every time and every nation.
was also going to talk about the
Johnson reminded me a few weeks ago that there 87 different languages spoken in
I was going to talk about the incredible opportunity for our children and our grandchildren to interact with peers from many different backgrounds, to expand their knowledge of other cultures and to prepare for life in a global society.
I started to write these words two weeks ago, before I left for vacation, I was
going to compare the
not going to re-preach all the sermons you’ve already heard this week. We are
recognizing the past work of people like Martin Luther King Jr., Maggie Kuhn,
and Elizabeth Peratrovich. We pray to the Lord to raise up and protect future
young religious, political and community leaders to help them to teach us how
to love one another, how to live with one another, despite our differences. And
Lord, we pray for ourselves and our Beloved Community right here in
Would you join me in Hymn No. 677, “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”
Brothers and sisters, who we are, and are yet becoming, as individuals manifests God’s presence in the world. That divine presence is reflected even more fully, powerfully, as we unite in Beloved Community. Let us bring ourselves, our gifts, and our resources together that God may be glorified.
O God, we commit to use all our gifts --wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, working of miracles, prophecy, discernment, tongues, administration, hospitality, and finances-- in the service of acting as co-workers with you and each other for peace and justice to flow like a mighty stream.
We recognize our own mortality, and are reminded that in the
fleeting time we have on this earth, what matters is not wealth, or status, or
power, or fame – but rather how well we have loved and what small part we have
played in bettering the lives of others. Barak Obama,
Go forth and love one another. Amen.
Prayer of the People
O God, all people are your Beloved,
across races, nationalities, religions, sexual orientations,
and all other ways we try to emphasize our differences
from one another.
We are all manifestations of your image.
We are bound together in an inescapable network of mutuality
and tied to a single garment of destiny.
You call us into your unending work
of justice, peace and love.
Let us know your presence
among us now
Let us delight in our diversity
that offers glimpses of the mosaic of your beauty.
Strengthen us with your steadfast love and
transform our despairing fatigue into hope-filled action.
Under the shadow of your wings in this hour
may we find rest and strength, renewal and hope.
Thank you, God, for forgiving us our slow action, our silence and our weariness,
for empowering our work and inviting us once again to create with you the Beloved Community you long for. In Jesus’ name. Amen.