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January 20, 2009
We will watch the presidential inauguration on television today, at NYU's Florence campus, a beautiful villa on the other side of town. It will be early evening here, of course, not high noon. Afterwards, I will be giving the invocation at what amounts to the Florentine Inaugural Ball: students, snacks, happy Americans and Italians, of every party and no party.

And here is how I will pray:

Creator and sustainer of the universe, known in so many different ways by so many different people, we rejoice today in the privilege of living in a society in which peaceful political change is possible. We rejoice in our power to do a new thing, to act on our beliefs and to amend our ways. We rejoice that today marks a milestone in our life together that many of us thought we would live and die without seeing. We rejoice in the witness of all who gave their lives so that we all might inherit freedom, and we pledge ourselves to be worthy of their sacrifice, to strive always to be the people they died believing us to be.

We ask your blessing upon Barack Obama as he takes up the heavy burden of his office. We ask your blessing and protection upon his family as they share him with us, and upon the challenging life into which they now move. And we ask your blessing upon all of us, that we might find, each of us in his or her own way, the means to support his leadership and develop our own, for the benefit of all people everywhere.

All of this we pray in unity of heart and purpose. And let all the people say, AMEN.
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