The Iowa Senate opened with a staunchly partisan prayer from Anna Blaedel on Thursday. Blaedel is an openly homosexual United Methodist chaplain at…the University of Iowa.
Here are her remarks, as well as her “prayer…”
“Dear ones, believers and atheists and agnostics alike. You Jesus followers and loving, kindness meditators, we who find our guidance through science and scripture and ethics and poetry and dreams. We who seek out gurdwaras and mosques and temples and shuls, we who need and offer sanctuary. We who encounter God and goodness on combines and in care centers, while braiding our children’s hair and shoveling our neighbors walks and restoring our ancestral prairies while holding prayer vigils and hosting needle exchanges. Our very lives are bound up with each other.
“Deeply entangled and intimately interconnected for better and worse. Whatever affects one directly affects all, eventually. Your story always intersects with my story and my story always intersects with your story and our story always intersects with the larger story, what I know as a divine story. When we linger long enough in the telling of truths that matter.
“What truths are being told that beg your attentive listening and response?
Then the prayer started.
“Let us pray.
“Oh God, spirit, breath of life, may we open our hearts and lives to one another. May our lives, may our hearts be vulnerable to beauty and to the pain of each other. May our minds be open to truth and questioning and justice. May our labors be guided by the needs of those most vulnerable. Those who are unsafe in their homes, in our streets, in our schools, in our workplaces. Those having to choose between paying rent and feeding their kids, paying medical bills and heating bills. Those facing terrifying unknowns and terrible knowns. Those living in fear of diagnoses and deportations and deployments and debt collectors.
“May we labor together until your truths are reflected in our collective common shared life. Until all black lives truly matter and the water of life is protected as earth’s lifeblood and our most basic common need. And the human right of health care is affordable and accessible. Until we measure our success as leaders and legislators by how the least of these are doing. Until the rich stop getting richer because the poor keep getting poorer. The (immigrants are welcome here), and women and trans folk and queer folk are trusted to know best what we need in and for our own bodies and families and lives. Because we, we, we belong to each other and we need each other and may we spend more time and energy fighting for each other than fighting with each other.
“May we listen to the possibilities of what can be done and may we tend to the sacred life force that urges us on. May it be so.