Prayer was offered by:
Guest Chaplain Senator Roderick Wright,
Members and guests as we approach the national Independence Day on July 4th, and look forward to the November elections and the conclusion of the 2010-2012 California legislative session, we have choices to make. Some of the choices will be hard with lasting implications for the people of California.
One of the fundamentals of all religions is the power of freewill. Whether it is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob or Vishnu, Allah or Buddha, Confucius or Christ the son of God, they all have freewill in common. Incidentally, they also have in common some version of what we often refer to as the golden rule, “Do on to others as you would have them do onto you.” It can be found in the code of Hammurabi as well as the teachings of Confucius. For my Bible thumpers it can be found in Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31.
I am reminded of a story first told to me by a Catholic Bishop by an unknown author I would like to share with you today.
High in the Himalayan Mountains lived a wise old man. Periodically, he ventured down into the local village to entertain the villagers with his special knowledge and talents. One of his skills was to psychically tell the villagers the contents on their pockets, boxes or minds.
A few young boys from the village decided to play a joke on the wise old man and discredit his special abilities. One boy came up with the idea to capture a bird and hide it in his hands. He knew of course, the wise old man would know the object in his was a bird. The boy devised a plan.
Knowing the wise old man would correctly state the object in his hands was a bird, the boy would ask the old man if the bird was dead or alive. If the wise man said the bird was alive, the boy would crush the bird in his hands, so that when he opened his hands the bird would be dead; if the wise man said the bird was dead the boy would open his hands and let the bird fly free. So no matter what the old man said, the boy would prove the old man a fraud.
The following week, the wise old man came down from the mountain into the village. The boy quickly caught a bird and cupping it out of sight in his hands, walked up to the wise old man and asked, “Old man, old man, what is it that I have in my hands?’
The wise old man said, “You have a bird,” and he was right.
Then the boy asked, “Old man, old man, tell me is the bird alive or is it dead?”
The wise old man looked at the boy and said. “The bird is as you choose it.”
And so it is with our lives.
I would like to leave you this afternoon with The Prayer of Serenity, by Reinhold Niebuhr.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. Courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
May this be God’s will.