"I think if Episcopalians will do what we do – pick up our prayer books and say our prayers faithfully – then we have done an important act of service for the entire nation," says Bishop Hughes. (Time: 4:24.)
This is Bishop Hughes in the Diocese of Newark. I am an Episcopalian, which is to say that I am a Christian and a devout one at that. I practice my Christianity in the Episcopal Church. This is the church that I grew up in. The church that formed me, that shaped me into an adult Christian, who has walked through life trying her best to lead a faithful life. This is the church that I serve now, and much of what I know about this church, I know from the Book of Common Prayer.
We are a prayer book people. There are some denominations in which there is a pastor who is the charismatic voice of the denomination. There are some denominations who have a statement, a doctrinal statement or set of theologies that define who they are. And in the Episcopal Church, what defines us is the prayer book. It says all we believe about how to live our lives, from our coming into the earth, having a place on the planet, our Baptismal covenant, being confirmed and accepting our role in the church as an adult and able to make our own decisions. It guides us through relationships in marriage, through ordinations, through death, through sadness, and gives us prayers that we can use all throughout every step of our lives.
As an Episcopalian I can't help but hear every conversation that is full of division, every conversation that starts off with the denigrating of "those people" and "them" and what they are not worthy of I can't help but think of prayers in the prayer book. And there's one in particular that I want to share with you, and I especially want to share this prayer with you as our country heads to election. And it proves to be an incredibly divisive time going forward in the next two months as we head to that election. And I think if Episcopalians will do what we do – pick up our prayer books and say our prayers faithfully – then we have done an important act of service for the entire nation.
So I invite you to open your prayer book to page 820, and to pray the prayer both for our country, and there's also a prayer for elections. And I invite you to use those two prayers every single day as we head towards election [page 822]. I'll start us with this one, for our country.
Almighty God who has given us this good land for our heritage: We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought Hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with a spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.