National prayer service: reports

(Update: On demand video here.)

The Washington Post has some raw video. From the Post‘s article:

Canon Carol Wade, who as the cathedral’s precentor oversees music and worship, said that in accordance with tradition, today’s prayers were based on the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer and sound similar to prayers given at services after the inaugurations of both Bush presidents and Ronald Reagan.

New touches to the service this year, cathedral officials said, were prayers drawn in part from George Washington’s 1789 post-inauguration prayer service and Abraham Lincoln’s 1865 inaugural address. The latter includes the famous phrase “with malice toward none, with charity for all,” which was said as part of the closing prayer given today by Katharine Jefferts-Schori [sic, it’s Jefferts Schori], presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church.

“We felt it was time to take a fresh look at the prayers,” Wade said yesterday, noting Obama’s embrace of religious liberalism. “Care was taken as to how we might respect and celebrate our diversity.” While multiple clergy who are not Christian participated in the service, Wade noted that the service was, at its core, Christian to reflect Obama’s personal beliefs.

Washington Times (also includes video clips and photos):

“This is the first full day on the job, and the best way we can begin is by praying,” The Very Rev. Samuel T. Lloyd III, dean of the cathedral, told the gathered congregation. “This morning, we’re all coworkers.”

The World Council of Churches has a press release which includes a link to the text of the sermon given by the Rev. Dr Sharon Watkins, general minister and president of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). From the sermon:

So how do we go about loving God? Well, according to Isaiah, summed up by Jesus, affirmed by a worldwide community of Muslim scholars and many others, it is by facing hard times with a generous spirit: by reaching out toward each other rather than turning our backs on each other. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “people can be so poor that the only way they see God is in a piece of bread.”

In the days immediately before us, there will be much to draw us away from the grand work of loving God and the hard work of loving neighbor. In crisis times, a basic instinct seeks to take us over – a fight/flight instinct that leans us toward the fearful wolf, orients us toward the self-interested fast… In international hard times, our instinct is to fight – to pick up the sword, to seek out enemies, to build walls against the other – and why not?

Video of the first half of the sermon here.

Addendum. USNews has good report.

Past Posts