Canon Bruce Griffith's Invocation

Long Island Region, NAACP Black History Luncheon

I thank the Board of the Long Island Region, NAACP, for this opportunity to pray the Invocation at this annual luncheon. I bring you greetings from our Episcopal Bishop, the Right Reverend Lawrence Provenzano, and from the Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral of the Incarnation, Garden City, where I serve as Honorary Canon in Residence. I am honored to be here as we close this year’s celebration of Black History Month. I hope we will all remember that this coming Saturday will mark the 55th anniversary of the first attempt to cross the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, Alabama, on the march to Birmingham.

Let us pray:

In 1965 it was a Sunday, Lord, a Sunday now forever etched in our history as ‘Bloody Sunday’. We are here today, Lord, because they were there then, and they were then because a half-century before others prepared the way for them. We are here to mark what has been accomplished, and to pray for more to be done and for leadership at all levels which unites rather than divides. We give thanks for those who led those many eras before us, so many of them now in your greater presence, as we pray especially this day for those of them still with us, and most especially for your faithful servant John Lewis, always a warrior for justice. We are grateful for this opportunity to celebrate all the good work the NAACP has done, just as we are here to support our sisters and brothers who still labor and yearn for true equality, for the chance to exhibit the dignity which is theirs, and to live in the peace and security they so richly deserve.

Strengthen us to do the work yet to be done; when we despair help us to remember how far we have already journeyed and how many there are who brought us to this day. Foster in us the strength they had, help us to pass it on to those who will come after us. Grant to them a time in which such a prayer need be only of thanksgiving.

Now bless us, bless this food, bless those who serve us here and those whom we will serve in the days ahead. Amen.

The Rev. Canon Bruce D. Griffith, Th.D. Cathedral of the Incarnation, Diocese of Long Island