Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Solemn Prayer

Last night, President Obama ended his oval-office speech to the nation on the Gulf oil leak crisis with a prayer that combined the model for Christian redemption with the model for social action for the common good:
"Each year, at the beginning of shrimping season, the region’s fishermen take part in a tradition that was brought to America long ago by fishing immigrants from Europe. It’s called “The Blessing of the Fleet,” and today it’s a celebration where clergy from different religions gather to say a prayer for the safety and success of the men and women who will soon head out to sea -– some for weeks at a time.

The ceremony goes on in good times and in bad. It took place after Katrina, and it took place a few weeks ago –- at the beginning of the most difficult season these fishermen have ever faced.

And still, they came and they prayed. For as a priest and former fisherman once said of the tradition, “The blessing is not that God has promised to remove all obstacles and dangers. The blessing is that He is with us always,” a blessing that’s granted “even in the midst of the storm.”

The oil spill is not the last crisis America will face. This nation has known hard times before and we will surely know them again. What sees us through -– what has always seen us through –- is our strength, our resilience, and our unyielding faith that something better awaits us if we summon the courage to reach for it.

Tonight, we pray for that courage. We pray for the people of the Gulf. And we pray that a hand may guide us through the storm towards a brighter day. Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America."

"Something better awaits if we can summon the courage to reach for it."

"We pray that a hand may guide us through the storm."

Heaven awaits us, if we can reach beyond our earthly scope. A larger force can guide us if we ask it. We decide.

Today, President Obama brought home for the American people a $20 billion payment yielded by British Petroleum. It will start an independent fund that can help pay for the damages and loss of income. A first installment, some say.

He decided.

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