(Note: The following is the invocation delivered during Friday’s night’s Lights for Liberty vigil at the Bulloch County Courthouse by the Rev. Jane Page. More than 700 Lights for Liberty gatherings were held around the United States Friday to bring awareness about migrant children and adults being held in inhumane conditions at refugee camps around the nation. Page is a minister with the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Statesboro and a member of the Statesboro Ministerial Association.)
“My dear neighbors!
We gather today as people with differing theologies, faith traditions, and / or world views.
But we know that even though we use different words and prayers and rituals, we can bind together in righteous cause with that Great Spirit of Life and Love that connects us all when we work together for good.
So this is an invocation – for us to invoke that spirit, that energy, that awakening around us and within us that we so need in this moment.
We do this here at a house built for justice. It has not always been a place of justice delivered, but that is its purpose. So we proclaim these grounds today as our sacred space as we cry our lamentations, struggle with our possibilities, and praise what will hopefully be peace, liberty, and justice for all some day.
As we have shared our flames with one another in the lighting of our candles, I invite you to join your minds and souls together in this invocation.
And as we invoke that divine love which surrounds us, may we all open our eyes so that we can see the divine in each other, especially those who have struggled to come to this land from places of desolation and fear.
May our ears be opened to the cries of families and know that we can never turn away from the tortuous practices of children being separated from their parents, rounded up in raids, led to detention centers also known by some as concentration camps, and silently giving up dreams.
May our hearts be open to follow the teachings of many of our faith traditions.
Leviticus 19:33-34 ‘When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself.’
Words of Jesus:
Matthew 25:35 ‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.’
The imperative of the Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, Bahai faiths and others to give hospitality to strangers.
The Golden Rule that we recited as children.
The words upon the Statue of Liberty that we memorized in elementary school.
All of these have been held sacred by us – and yet, we are living in a time when these values that we hold as sacred are being trampled.
We hereby invoke that Spirit of Life and Love to give us the energy, courage and commitment to stand up to tyranny and injustice together.
For this – this – is America – which we celebrated earlier this month with fireworks and fanfare.
This is America – the place we proclaim to be the land of the free and the home of the brave.
As we connect in love together today – for the sake of our future and that of our children and grandchildren, we ask and pray:
May it be so! May it be so.
Amen, Amen –and blessed be.
Now we invite you to go forth with your light – carry it into the world. We will eventually extinguish the flame on your candles, but not the light of hope and the fire of commitment that we carry in our hearts.
Go in peace! Voya en Paz!”