In the summer of 2012, I had the privilege of sharing the opening prayer and remarks for the NC Senate. In an age when the courts are tallying the number of prayers that are prayed in Jesus’ name, I knew that what I was about to say would be a direct challenge to the secular mindset that dominates much of our government.
The dictatorial decisions of the 4th Circuit Court should be challenged by the people, and that is exactly what some are beginning to do. Nonetheless, I am willing to do my part in championing the general religious sentiments of the people of our great state. Thus I offered the following prayer and remarks to the NC Senate.
Prayer for the North Carolina General Assembly
Delivered by Rev. Rit Varriale
June 6, 2012
Thank you, it is a pleasure to be with you on this 6th day of June.
Having served as an officer in the 82nd Airborne Division, I would be remiss if I did not mention that, on this day, sixty-eight years ago, our young men were storming the beaches of Normandy! We are forever grateful for their sacrifice, and we are grateful for the sacrifice of our men and women in arms today. The sacrifice made on those days in Normandy so many years ago could have been prevented. If the German Church had reflected a greater allegiance to God and a lesser commitment to Statehood, then the Third Reich may have been stopped and the entire war prevented, but that was not the case.
A sad truth about the church is that it often takes the path of ease, when instead it should take the path of resistance, responsibility and reform. In large part, this is true of the America Church today. The American Church, like the German Church of the 1930’s and 1940’s, is free of persecution because it has done little that is worthy of persecution. In many ways, silence is no longer an option for the 21st century Church.
For that reason that I offer this prayer…
Merciful God, forgive us for our cowardliness, insomuch as, we have accepted the notion that the general religious sentiments of our people have no place in politics, and yet our constitution reflects those very sentiments.
Humble us with the reality that we have abdicated the education of our children to a system that disparages religion and downplays morality, and yet, the first word on public education in our State’s constitution is “religion” and the second word is “morality” emphasizing that, “Religion [and] morality… [are] necessary to good government.”
Almighty God, enable the leaders of the Church to rise up from the ashes of ambivalence and complacency in order to champion the general religious sentiments of our people. Likewise, enable the leaders of our government to rise up on behalf of the people and challenge those who do not believe that issues of constitutionality and human rights should be adjudicated by public consensus.
Turn our government away from what it has become, namely, a government of the courts for the disenchanted minority to that which it was intended to be; “a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
Heavenly Father, use these leaders of North Carolina to bring about a reformation in our State that will serve as a model for reformation in our nation—a reformation that reorders our responsibilities to You and to one another. For You, the Living God, are not responsible to us. Rather, we are responsible to You. Likewise, our society should not be responsible for serving the whims of the individual. Rather, individuals should be responsible to serve for the good of the larger society (starting with their families).
Lastly, in our renewed fulfillment of our responsibilities, may we live up to the motto of this great State, “To be Rather than to Seem!” May we be an honorable and responsible people. Serving you, and serving others in your name.
I present this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.