If you know much about what I do in the city, you’ll know that I attend a lot of prayer gatherings. But I have to tell you that the gathering that I went to last Wednesday night was one of the most unique, inspiring prayer gatherings that I’ve attended in a long time. I came away filled with faith and hope for the upcoming leadership of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
1. It was a remarkable demonstration of the gifts and talents present within communities of faith in our city
1 Corinthians 12:4-7 says “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”
I find it significant that Massachusetts is a Commonwealth, which is a word meaning “political community founded for the common good.” At this gathering, various communities of faith all shared their gifts and talents, as a sign of offering and blessing for the upcoming term of the Governor-Elect Baker and Lieutenant Governor-Elect Polito. Each of the twelve leaders shared a reading that was meaningful to them, and then presented Mr. Baker and Mrs. Polito with a symbolic gift. The service also had musical selections from various churches ringing out with the passion and glory of God – each giving what they had to offer to bless the common good.
2. It symbolized the importance of prayer
One vision continues to resonate in my heart and mind, the image of various religious leaders coming together to pray for God’s anointing on Governor-Elect Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor-Elect Karyn Polito:I was astounded to see the diversity of the religious leaders that were present, including Cardinal Sean O’Malley of the Archdiocese of Boston, Metropolitan Methodios, Imam Suhaib Webb of the Islamic Society of Boston, Reverent Matthew Thompson of Jubillee Christian Church, Rabbi Ronnie Friedman of Temple Israel, and Reverend Laura Everett of the Massachusetts Council of Churches.
We might not all be able to agree on doctrine, but we can agree that Baker and Lieutenant Governor-elect Karyn Polito need the blessing of God to lead effectively. Coming together in prayer is a sign and a symbol of our hopes and dreams together for the commonwealth!
3. It indicated a narrowing of the gap between the church and the city
It would be easy for Governor-Elect and Lieutenant Governor-Elect to begin their term of office without joining in this prayer service. However, their presence indicates that faith is a priority for them; that the church and religious communities are a meaningful part of how they view the city and commonwealth.
Lisa Wangsness of the Boston Globe wrote “The eagerness of politicians in this largely liberal, secular state to form alliances with clergy such as Miranda underscores the continued importance of the institutional church in the city’s communities of color, and in the life of the city.” This gives me hope for the city and the church working together in future endeavors.
4. It showed a desire for this term of office to be characterized by humility and servanthood
What blew me away most from this evening was the scripture passage that Governor-elect Baker chose to characterize his term of office: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:3-5). Baker shared that it is his desire for each person in his administration to live by this notion.
I was so encouraged by this because I have felt that what God wants most for us as His people in Boston is humility. I had the sense that God was really going to honor this time that we took to come together and pray a blessing on their upcoming term. May we as a commonwealth be known by our willingness to humble ourselves and lift others up!
To learn more, check out the Boston Globe article here: