"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Senate Opening Prayer

‘They will listen to my voice.' said Jesus (John 10:16). How do I imagine that voice? A hectoring father? A nagging mother? A moralizing preacher? A roaring sergeant-major? No, it is the voice of a lover, who knows me in my uniqueness and calls me by name. Of all that you say here, Lord, your last words hearten me most: ‘I must bring the other sheep also, so there will be one flock, one shepherd.'

Today, as we gather before this august hall, let us be reminded of the horrors brought about by greed, selfishness and hatred which resulted in the loss of millions of innocent lives and which occurred during the early weeks of November. Let us learn from the harsh lessons that they brought.

On November 9 - 10, 1938, Crystal Night (Kristallenacht), in almost all large German cities and some smaller ones that night, store windows of Jewish shops were broken, Jewish houses were destroyed, and synagogues were demolished and set on fire.

On that fateful night, over 7,500 Jewish shops were destroyed and 400 synagogues were burnt down. Ninety-one Jews were killed and an estimated 20,000 sent to concentration camps.

Crystal night heralded the Holocaust where 6,000,000 Jews died in the hands of Nazis, 1.5 million of them children. These deaths represented one-third of world Jews.

On November 4, 1995, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Israel’s martyr for peace and a Jew, was assassinated by Yigal Amir who opposed the signing of the Oslo Accords, the intended framework for the future relations between Israel and the anticipated Palestinian state.

On November 11, 1918, The Armistice was signed between the Allied Nations and Germany which ended the First World War, where over 40 million casualties resulted, including approximately 20 million military and civilian deaths.

As humankind grows older, we long for unity, and for an end to the needless divisions that cripple us. Be a good shepherd to all who visit Sacred Space that is this Senate. We find here a unity in hearing Your words and communing with You.