The Office of the Chaplain United States House of Representatives

Reverend Dr. Paul Smith

First Presbyterian Church
Brooklyn, NY

Sponsor: Rep. Rep. James Leach, (R-IA)
Date of Prayer: 09/19/2002

One Minute Speech Given in Recognition of the Guest Chaplain:

Mr. LEACH. Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the House, it is my honor to welcome and extend appreciation to the Reverend Dr . Paul Smith for delivering the opening prayer this morning.

Dr . Smith is the senior pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn and a faculty member of the New York Theological Seminary. A scholar, Dr . Smith has written extensively on issues of integration and is considered one of the world's leading authorities on multicultural training and arbitration. He has negotiated labor management agreements related to sweatshops in South America and China and conducted sensitivity training for the New York City Police Department, various churches, universities and the Federal Government, including the IRS. Given the tensions in the world in which we live and not incidentally the fractious body in which we work, Reverend Smith's presence and prayer is much appreciated.

Opening Prayer Given by the Guest Chaplain:

In preparation for our prayer this morning, I would ask that you would just close your eyes and reflect as we listen to the silence for a moment.

O Divine Creator: Listen to the beating of our hearts and the stirrings deep within us, as each of us, in our own way, acknowledges the silent moment.

May this peripheral moment, almost mystical, become a moment which touches us where we are most ourselves. And we pray, O God, for strength, that You give each one of these men and women standing before You the courage to be genuine, that their yeas and nays be genuine. All else obscures the truth, tempting them to betray the eternal.

We ask that You help them and us to face the fears residing deep in our souls as we hear in the distance the cries for war, the cries for peace, the cries for justice and the cries for freedom. And, God, we would petition You to quench our deep–seeded need to be right. We know that Democrats being right does not make Republicans wrong. We know that conservatives being right does not make liberals wrong. Rather, teach us how to listen for the sounds of the genuine in ourselves, so we may hear the sounds of the genuine of our colleagues and friends.

O Divine Creator, help this Congress to practice deep listening, for it is in our deep listening that we hear the silence, where we hear the cries of our people, where we see the shadows which frighten us, and where we find the center and core of our being. So as we practice this deep listening, grant that we may also practice arrogance reduction, for by doing so, we lift up those things which glorify the Creator. Amen.

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