I bring you greetings from two communities, the Arch Street Presbyterian Church located at the corner of 18th and Arch and the Broad Street Ministry where I also am privileged to serve, where over 500 Philadelphians will gather for lunch today, and I hope you'll all come down some time and eat with us.
I'm joined today by Ms. Valerie Gay, the Executive Director of the Art Sanctuary, because as I was preparing for this, we knew that today you needed a jolt of inspiration, and so we're going to hopefully, with God's help, provide that for you.
So will you join me in prayer. Let us pray.
God of steadfast promises and divine issuer of challenges, we give you thanks for waking us up this morning. We give you thanks for the opportunity that you have given us this day to be a blessing to other people. We give you thanks for the countless people in our lives who made real sacrifices so that we may enter this Chamber.
Faced with daunting challenges but also with unfathomable opportunities to do something of real significance, God, we ask that you guide us today. Guide us so that we do not squander what we've been given. Open us now to new possibilities. Strengthen us to persevere through the problems, and soften us to our adversaries, but always harden our resolve to advocate for those who are vulnerable and innocent, the children, the aging, and those who need us to embody hope because they are consumed by despair.
Ignite in us a new passion to be of service. Inspire us when we are tired or weak or worn. Implant within us a bold new idea this day. Gift us with a breakthrough, a way forward that carries us past pettiness and selfishness and small-mindedness. Help us always to return to you for pardon when we stray, knowing that as we go through this world, you go with us, providing us everything we need to be the people this beautiful and troubled city needs us to be.