I recently had the opportunity to attend the 12th Annual Dialogue and Friendship Dinner sponsored by the Dialogue Institute of the Southwest. Diverse people, cultures, and faiths gathered around a meal and conversation to create new friendships and deepen mutual understanding. I was privileged to offer a prayer at the beginning of the evening. Other prayers were offered by a Catholic priest, an imam, a rabbi, and a leader of the Sikh community.
Holy and gracious God, you have made of one blood all the peoples of the earth, and we offer you thanks and praise for bringing us together this evening.
We thank you for the many and diverse peoples and traditions you have gathered here. Open our eyes to see, our hearts to know, and our mouths to proclaim that our common humanity precedes our religious differences, and that our religious differences are the many and particular expressions of your universality.
Look with compassion, O Lord, on the whole human family, whom you have made in your image and according to your likeness. Take away the arrogance, fear, and hatred which infect our hearts. Break down the walls that separate us, and unite us in bonds of love.
Open the borders of our hearts and minds, and guide us in the way of holy friendships, that we may learn to better love you, one another, and ourselves.
Give wisdom, creativity, and perseverance to all who work for unity, peace, concord, and the freedom of all people. Guide the leaders of our religious traditions and the nations of the world, especially the President and Congress of the United States, in the ways of your peace and justice.
Grant us inquiring minds, searching hearts, and curious spirits that we might deepen our own faith by learning of your ways from those who differ from us.
We thank you for the gift of hospitality, for the food and drink of this evening and for those who prepared it. Bless this food and our time together that we might be nourished and strengthened in body and soul to do the work you give us to do; to love and serve all your people.
All these many things we pray with thanksgiving in your holy name. Amen.