Bipartisan Interfaith Prayer Service: Praying with Pelosi

This morning, I joined Shelley Moskowitz of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) in attending the 111th Congress Bipartisan Interfaith Prayer Service at the Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church. For many members of Congress, the prayer service is time of reflection and centering before taking the oath of office.

Prior to the service Shelley introduced me to Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, whom she has known for twenty years when they were both working towards peace and justice in Central America. It was a great honor.

The service appropriately began with the hymn My Country ‘Tis of Thee, followed by Republican and Democratic Members of Congress reading from the Qur’an, Hebrew Bible, and New Testament. Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) offered the first reflection on the story of the Good Samaritan. He called upon his colleagues to put aside their differences, get off their high horses, as did the Samaritan, and remember their obligations to their constituents, especially the least among them.

Rep. John Boehner, the House Minority Leader, offered a Litany of Intercessions, which included a call for peace on earth and an end to violence, words that had deep meaning for me as I thought of the violence in Israel and Gaza. The Lord’s Prayer was then recited in Spanish by Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX).

Rep. Nancy Pelosi offered the final reflection on the story of the loaves and the fishes. She affirmed the miraculous nature of Jesus the Shepherd feeding 5,000 people, not counting women and children, with five loaves and two fish. But she added a belief that the miracle alone did not feed all gathered; the miracle itself was multiplied as it inspired others within the crowd to produce and share what little they had as well. Her interpretation was poignant in this time of economic turmoil.

It was a poignant service, moving many to the verge of tears. In the middle of the service, a soprano, Andrea Trusty, sang a soulful version of Let There Be Peace on Earth. When she finished, Shelley leaned toward me and said, “Wouldn’t it be nice if they opened each day with that song?”

With the Representatives gathered facing an economic crisis, war in the Middle East, and global climate change, I got the sense that they wouldn’t mind that at all. The 111th Congress has huge challenges to face; inspiration and prayer is needed. Let us remember that in the months ahead.

Why UU Service Committee Supports Living Wage $10 in 2010 Campaign

by Johanna Chao Kreilick, Program Manager for Economic Justice, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

The July 24 raise in the minimum wage to $6.55 will help millions of workers deal with the rapidly rising price of gas, food, and other basic items.

Unitarian Universalists – working in partnership with Let Justice Roll – have been at the center of this upward trend toward economic justice. Your living wage organizing and advocacy — from Wichita to Atlanta, to Nashville and Tulsa is helping to make the difference for working families across America.

As leading members of Let Justice Roll, UUSC and the UUA are inviting your continued support and participation, beginning with a call to leaders of faiths across the nation to endorse a letter that will be delivered to the new Congress in January. In combination with the faith letter, Let Justice Roll is inviting congregations and organizations to join us in hosting a diversity of “Living Wage Days” services and community events across the nation January 10 and 11.

Learn more at Advancing the Fair Wage Movement > Stories and sign up to join other UUs in building a groundswell of support for a minimum wage that lifts people out of poverty and strengthens our families and economy.

As Dr. King said in Memphis in March 1968, “Now is the time to make an adequate income a reality for all of God’s children…Now is the time for justice to roll down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”