Rev. Phil Blackwell, Senior Pastor of First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple, offered the following prayer at the Mayor’s Clergy Prayer Breakfast in Chicago on December 5, 2013.
We bow before you, Almighty One, as people of the light – the light that will not be extinguished because the oil does not run out, the light of the moon and stars that guide us through the night, the light of the world that has come and is coming — we pray as people of the light that we might go from this place to be a light to the people whom we serve –
a light of hope,
a light of peace,
a light of joy,
a light of love.
For that is our calling, not just our job . . . our vocation, our purpose. And as we go into our corners of the world that need light so desperately, may we remember one another, pray for one another, and remember that it is your light that we reflect, not our light that we generate.
In this moment we share a prophetic vision, one that is to provoke our imaginations –
That the wolf will live with the lamb,
The leopard shall lie down with the kid,
The calf and the lion and the fatling together,
And a child shall lead them.
We are led back out into the real world, O Holy One, by the children, the nursing child in his mother’s arms who deserves to be cradled safely on the front porch, the growing child who must be free to play in her backyard unafraid.
It is a prophetic vision which keeps us close to you and to one another. A vision of rival gang members eating together, a vision of jobs in the neighborhoods more lucrative than selling guns, a vision of businesses built up by residents, not undermined by conglomerates, a vision by which not only do our people see the gleaming Loop from a distance but also by which those high up in the towers of prosperity can see the two-flat on the southwest side.
Keep our eyes open, our ears unstopped, our hearts pure, our hands ready, and our minds agile as we witness in genuine, life-saving ways, to the light that shines in the darkness and cannot be extinguished.
In your multitude of names we pray, Amen.
Rev. Phil Blackwell
The Chicago Temple