On Feb. 12, 2013, the Rev. Dr. Robert Grove-Markwood, President of Bangor Theological Seminary, provided this “Invocation and Blessing” for the Seating of the Commission of the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth & Reconciliation Commission.
O God of all truth, the One who calls us to be companions on a Holy and just journey of life, hear us as we ask for your gathering presence and Grace in this historic moment.
O Creator of all that lives, Source of all that sustains life, may your Sacred Spirit be the breath that now animates and gives life to this Truth and Reconciliation Commission as it begins what we pray will be a redemptive work of healing and wholeness. May ancient teachings continue to inspire and guide.
May Love be at the heart of the truth that is found, the foundation of this process of discovery.
May Wisdom incline those who are prepared to listen to cherish and absorb even the most difficult of testimonies, calling forth a remorse that can restore trust.
May those whose stories need to be heard possess strong hearts to Bravely face any fear. May they be gifted with Courage to tell of what pain they have lived, and what was taken from them – their childhoods, their children, their culture, their community.
May Honesty prevail, that neither victim’s shame, nor perpetrator’s blame will hide or deny the errors, the abuses, the sins of the past.
May Humility (as Compassion) help every participant find that common ground of humanity in which we see each other as friend and not foe, each of us a part of a wondrous creation meant for all to share with joy. And may those with privilege and power cast off any arrogance, to experience vulnerability and changed hearts that will embolden them as advocates for the repair and replacement of systems which have become cruel or unjust.
May those who share stories without shame, and those who willingly wait for the words of wounded witnesses each live out a desire for the restoration of mutual Respect, given freely from the heart.
And may Truth be the fruit of this good effort, O God. May the truth revealed be more than the sum of the individual stories told and heard. May a larger truth emerge, a greater story of all people learning how to live in peace, with justice, and with a common commitment to never again in the name of child welfare inflict harm on the very children we would protect. Forgive our foolish ways, O God, and inspire countless incarnations of your great Love among us.
Now bless and consecrate the Commissioners to be seated this day – Matthew, gkisedtanamoogk, Gail, Sandra, and Carol – selfless servants. Hand in hand with those who come to share their stories, may our circle of truth become more than words. May the truth that is learned shape a new and lived reality.
Now bless this Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth & Reconciliation Commission, and all who take part in this historic process, that our state of Maine and its agencies may function ever more faithfully in their protective roles for all, but in this – especially – for the sake of the Wabanaki people, and for the children. O God, you make all things possible. Hear our prayers. Amen.