I prepared and shared this prayer at Indianapolis' "March for the American Dream" event on the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
|A dad shares the story of Bobby Kennedy and Martin|
Luther King, Jr. at the Kennedy-King Memorial in
King Park, 600 E. 17th Street in Indianapolis.
O God, has it really been 50 years?
Many of us were mere children when Martin shared the Dream.
We weren’t there. But You were.
Clearly, You were there!
Many heard You in Martin’s words.
In his voice was the cry of untold millions who have suffered injustices and longed for freedom.
That day, Martin gave voice to what so many felt in their souls.
We are grateful for his voice for reason, for equality, for unity.
It has shaped our lives and lifetimes in powerful ways.
All of us have been affected by Martin’s Dream.
All of us enter its promise.
All of us share in its story.
All of us see its vision.
All of us respond to its challenges.
We’ve got to confess that we’ve too easily, too frequently wandered from the Dream.
We’ve been distracted and absorbed in self-gratifying pursuits.
We’ve joined in mantras of self-sufficiency instead of recognizing our interdependence and call to community.
We’ve sought our own good at others’ expense.
We’ve looked out for our group when we could have included all.
We’ve clamored in competition when cooperation was needed.
We’ve doubted and blamed and acted destructively toward others and ourselves.
We’ve occasionally despaired of the Dream’s lofty aspirations and settled for smaller, more controllable, more manageable bits of it.
We’ve even pretended that equality has already been achieved and that there’s little more to do.
God, help us.
Forgive us. Help us to forgive one another and move into the reconciliation and solidarity we all share as seekers of freedom.
In spite of our faltering, here we are, still drawn to the Dream.
Still inspired by it.
Still hopeful for it.
Still pressing toward it.
Still ready to sacrifice for it.
Still standing to strive for it together as friend and foe, neighbor and stranger, housed and homeless, straight and gay, progressive and conservative, citizen and resident alien.
As you were with Martin and those hundreds of thousands gathered in Washington on this day 50 years ago, we believe You are with us here today.
Spirit of light and life, as we stand together, we ask You: through our guest speakers, help us make a fresh connection to that historic day.
Spirit of truth and justice, as we listen together, open our ears: help us hear and grasp our local challenges and possibilities.
Spirit of grace and peace, as we labor together, help us work in harmony and common purpose.
As we celebrate a great moment in our history,
Inspire us anew with the Dream.
Help us lend our voices to it.
Help us move it forward.
And instill in us grace and courage to see it through to an enduring future.
Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer. Amen.
John Franklin Hay
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA