Rev. Livingston’s New York City Council Invocation | January 20, 2022

Invocation for the meeting of the New York City Council
Rev. Michael E. Livingston, Interim Senior Minister
The Riverside Church in the City of New York
January 20, 2022

Gracious, creating, loving God, be among us in this moment and beyond:  The New York City Council begins a new year as a new council; and dear elected friends, we are watching you, with you, hoping the best for you, praying for you—that the one God of all, by the many names we know her, the many forms he takes—will be among you, and that you will listen to one another, as if each one of you bears the image of God on your face, as if God speaks through each one.  What an amazing opportunity and challenge awaits you: to represent the people of this great city, alive with the languages and colors, cultures and customs of the whole world.  We dare to believe and trust that in New York City we can live together as one people, love one and all—as we choose, enjoy the justice of God laid bare, made plain, protected, in policies and practices that privilege no borough, or class, color or religion among us—but seeks to attend with justice and compassion to the most vulnerable among us, to ask of those most secure to give as though their well-being depended upon the well-being of others—as surely it does.

God come among us; this Council, led for the first time by an amazing plurality of women/of color, surely a sign these days of Immanuel, God with us.  We’ll know your work goes well as more people move from the streets into safe and secure housing; as children learn in public schools supported and equipped to nurture their God-given gifts; as older New Yorkers are supported to age with dignity in their homes and neighborhoods; as workers are paid living wages and share in the abundance our city offers; as policing is administered with restraint and regard for the humanity inherent in every person, in every encounter; as public housing is rehabilitated into living spaces—homes, of dignity and grace;  as the carceral system becomes more humane, restorative, safe for officers and inmates alike.

God of the universe, the city, the citizen…hear our prayer, heal our city, bless this Council, each member, the work they do together, for us all.  In your many names we pray.  Amen.