I was inspired this week by the Civil Rights leader, Rev. Jesse Jackson, who spoke at Chautauqua as we celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the 40th anniversary of his assassination.
Jackson ended his speech with this moving prayer. I was in the amphitheater but unable to hear it, so I was grateful to the Chautauqua Daily for publishing his words this morning.
“Let us bow our heads in prayer and join hands.
We pray today for the sick; if Aretha [Franklin] had had no insurance, she would have been dead 10 years ago. We pray to God for the health care of all of his children. We pray to learn to live together as brothers and sisters and not die apart as fools. For grieving families everywhere, we pray. For those who died in our cities, we pray for them. Those in the coal mines of Appalachia, we pray for them. We pray for each one of us to have a more perfect union, a better nation and a more fit nation. So touch our hearts.
We fall down sometimes. We make mistakes. We get up again, same as the sinners get back up again. We fall down and get back up again because the ground is no place for a champion, and nothing is too hard for you, and so see us through.
In late years I’ve been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and yet I thank God for saving my life and for sustaining my will to work. One thing I’m sure about is once I was young, but now I’m old. I have never seen you foresake the righteous.
Bless us, bless Chautauqua — let this little place be the center of the universe. Let the joy from this place flow to the streets of our nation. Amen.”
Have you had a moment of inspiration this week? I’ve been surrounded by inspiration as together this community has searched for answers, and I’m grateful. I hope that you have been surrounded, too.