Benediction offered at the Inauguration of Governor Maggie Hassan
January 8, 2015
The State House
Concord, New Hampshire
Gracious God, Source of all Life, Counsel and Wisdom, we stand within stout walls of granite, a symbol of our steadfast character. Our State House and Legislative buildings were constructed in the rock of our rugged State in witness to aspirations to be solid, certain, and stable, for each other and for the future generations.
But such endeavors are always under Your sight and depend on Your favor. Granite buildings such as these can remind us of the Tower of Babel if those who labor here expect to encounter one voice that claims to embrace all that is true. As that sacred story teaches us, for a community to endure it must be challenged by drastic, at times even indecipherable, difference among us.
And so deliver us, O Holy One, from the presumption that our Granite State will be monolithic, unwilling to be changed and shaped by the voices of the stranger, the underprivileged, the other party, the other.
May statements uttered within these solid walls begin not with the limiting words “of course” or “obviously” but with the open “tell me how” and the curious “what if?” May those who visit these stone walls not find stony hearts, but beating hearts eager to join justice with mercy, to shape truth by empathy. May our State Government give birth to a new era of respect, by which we literally “see again” the one we are tempted to discredit. And may our nation notice the work that takes place in Concord as a bright example of how dignity is practiced in civil life. And so make our communities flourish in Your sight.
In Your hallowed name we pray.
The Right. Reverend A. Robert Hirschfeld, Bishop, Episcopal Church of New Hampshire