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O God, make us more than…

By Dr. Marvin A. McMickle

Editor’s note: Dr. McMickle delivered the following invocation at New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s State of the State Address in January.

Eternal God, we acknowledge you as the sovereign Lord of all creation. From everlasting to everlasting, and from sea to shining sea, you are our God. We gather today to hear about conditions in our Empire State. We come from crowded cities and from snow-covered fields. We come from places of great wealth and from places of painful poverty.

We come bearing the faces of every nation and every culture. We are descendants of the Mayflower and the offspring of those who survived slave ships and auction blocks. We are millionaires and migrant workers. We are farmers, entrepreneurs, educators, public servants and first responders. We are here because we love our home, the State of New York.

We come at a time when our nation is badly divided on matters of politics, policies, personalities and partisan practices. But, today, O God, make us more than Democrats or Republicans or Independents. Make us Americans and New Yorkers, who are deeply committed to the strength of our nation and the well-being of our fellow citizens.

Open our hearts to hear what our governor has to say today. May he present this assembly with great visions of a state where opportunity and prosperity are available to all who invest their highest hopes and their best efforts. May he speak to us of jobs and of justice, of the economy and the environment, and of infrastructure and of intellectual property rights.

Let all those who serve in government be informed by the words of King David, who said: “He that rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God” [2 Samuel 23:3]. May it be so today for every member of this state assembly, for every city council, every county legislature, every school board, every judicial office, and every citizen’s commission and committee, and most especially for Governor Cuomo.

Our sovereign God, to thee, author of liberty, of thee we sing:

Long may our land be bright with freedom’s holy light;

Protect us by thy might, great God our king.

God of our weary years,

God of our silent tears,

Thou who hast brought us thus far along the way;

Thou who hast by thy might led us into the light,

Keep us forever in the path, we pray.

Lest our feet stray from the place, our God, where we met thee.

Lest our hearts drunk with the wine of the world we forget thee.

Shadowed beneath thy hand,

May we forever stand.

True to our God,

True to our native land. Amen.


Dr. Marvin A. McMickle is president of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, Rochester, N.Y.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of American Baptist Home Mission Societies.