Invocation for the NAACP MLK Dinner

Invocation for the Martin Luther King Dinner at the Holiday Inn by the Bay


In this season which Christians call Epiphany when the wise men who followed the star reminds wise men and women that the light of Christmas came not just for one nations but for all nations and people, we come before you with prayer.


As we gather together tonight, we recognize and repent of the sins of racism, of bigotry, misogyny, and xenophobia that infect our land and our hearts. We confess our own complicity and complacency, our own silence and our own lack of listening and speaking out that has led to the situation in which we find ourselves today. We decry violence and grieve the 963 people who died from police shootings this year, almost half of whom were not white. We bow our heads in remembrance of the members of the LGBT community who died in Orlando and we stand tonight with those working for justice in Standing Rock and surround them with our prayers. We lift up to you those who march, who kneel, who raise their hands in the air or say their prayers in protest. We give thanks for the vision we have received from you that all life is sacred, which means that Black Lives Matter, Latino Lives Matter, Native American lives Matter, and Muslim lives matter too.    


Oh God, we know that hate crimes have surged since the election. We pray especially tonight for the Muslim community of Portland and the Halal market on Forest Avenue that was vandalized on Christmas day. We know that right now the hearts of many in our city and across our nation are filled with fear. We, however, also know that the message of the angels to the shepherds that first Christmas night was to not be afraid, and we vow this night not to be afraid but instead to be lights that shine in the darkness, lights that overcome the darkness, lights that vanquish the darkness that is around us.


Tonight we ask you to bless us with hope, with the hope of this beloved community, the people in this room and so many others all across this land. In the spirit of Dr. King, help us to realize that more than ever this is the time our voices are needed. Let this evening enliven our hearts, our minds, our hands and feet, that we may be who you have called us to be and do what you have called us to do. In it all, remind us of the message of Christmas, that you are with us, that the arc of history bends toward justice and that in your time, Dr. King’s dream, our dream, and your dream, will be made real.

The Rev. Benjamin Shambaugh

Posted in: Dean's Message  E-pistle 
Post Date: Tuesday, January 17, 2017 9:41 AM