Monday, January 19, 2009
I'm part of a panel at the Dallas Morning News called Texas Faith. Each week we reply to a question posed by one of the editors. This week the question was: "If you were delivering the invocation or the benediction, what would you say? Write a (short) prayer that you’d deliver if for some reason you get called to pinch hit for one of the named headliners." The question was made even more current by the controversy surrounding various preachers doing their thing at different inaugural events.
Most of the panel are preachers so this barked right up our tree! As someone who convenes the largest interfaith gathering in Dallas, Winter SolstiCelebration, the question truly resonated with me. Such an invocation must appeal to those who are religious, spiritual but not religious, and those not spiritual at all. A great challenge, but one I face every year. So I turned to that stalwart unifying metaphor, the tree.
Here’s my offering, called “Axis Mundi:”
Oh divine energy that breathes through me, be with us as we breathe deeply together [breathe]. May this divine energy infuse this day that celebrates how out of the many we become one.
The great Tree of Life has in its many limbs a diversity of leaves on a plentitude of branches, its crown of creation gathering the light of the life-giving Sun.
Unseen beneath the surface, a diversity of roots searches through the dark regenerative earth, gathering food and water so that the Tree of Life can reach ever upward for its dreams.
This light and dark diversity merges in the unity, the community, of the trunk, the many into the one pillar of strength. We are gathered together on this profound day as the trunk, the Axis Mundi of this great nation, bridging realms and bringing forth the goodness of life for all.
Let us always remember that this great Arbor Vitae comes from just a tiny seed, into the optimistic sapling that becomes a majestic tree. Thus we envision together does the dream we plant today.
Breathe deeply again with me [breathe] of the air that we all share, feel yourself grounded yet reaching toward the sky, knowing that the soaring unity of the trunk is where our strength resides.
Let the trees you see everyday remind you of this moment, this metaphor, and carry it with you, through hard times and glad, on our journey together to create a world of peace and harmony.