Almighty God, we humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
-From the Collect for our Country, The Book of Common Prayer, p. 820
A Message from the Rector
Since earliest times, Christians have prayed for the sick and the vulnerable, for the Church, and for their secular leaders. Prayer assures us of God's eternal love amid the vicissitudes of earthly affairs. As our attention is drawn today to the inauguration of a new President and Vice-President, let us ask for God's blessing on our common life and that the new administration would have "wisdom and strength to know and do thy will" (BCP, p. 820).
Like many of you, I was moved last night to watch the memorial for victims of the pandemic. The reflecting pool on the National Mall was flanked by 400 lights, each one representing at least 1,000 lives lost. It was fitting to honor the dead as preparation for the inauguration. The images of today's civil ritual marking the transfer of presidential power make clear that we are living through a time of grief during a profound crisis--a crisis of health, security, justice, and spirit. And yet our faith teaches us to maintain hope even in the face of dire challenges.
I hope you will join me today in saying a prayer for the future of our common life. Just as we have prayed diligently over the past four years, Sunday after Sunday, for the outgoing president, we will pray for the new administration. Jesus demonstrates that true authority is shown through humility, and that the right purpose of gaining power is to use it to lift up the lowly. Our new leaders will need our prayers as much as they will need to be held accountable to their call to serve the least among us in truth and righteousness. An inaugural prayer service joined by President Biden will take place at the National Cathedral on Jan. 21 at 10am and live streamed at cathedral.org.
May God bless us all on this historic day.
The Rev. Steven D. Paulikas