Shattered Shards and Two Americas

Invocation delivered at the Martin Luther King Prayer Breakfast
Charlotte, North Carolina

The mystics of Judaism teach
about the concept of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world.
You see, when God created the world
there was only God and only God’s light.

To make room for creation
God contracted Godself
and poured God’s light into vessels.
But the light was so strong
that the vessels shattered —
casting shards holding Divine light everywhere.

Each time we do a religious act,
each time we do an act of justice or of kindness,
we pick up a shard and reveal God’s light.

MLK’s two Americas
still divided:
privilege causing oppression
hurting us all.

Two Americas.
The great Dr. King wrote:
The one flowing with the milk of prosperity
and the honey of opportunity.
And the other, millions of work starved people
searching for jobs,
(and I would add, searching for jobs
that can support their families).
Millions of people perishing on an island of poverty
in the vast ocean of material prosperity.

Two Americas.
Two Charlottes.
September protests surfacing
the shattered shards.

God, source of light and life,
we thank you for the food that lifts our bodies,
for the messages of humanity this morning
that will lift our souls.
May we leave here committed to creating a world
that lifts up all the laborers
who made this meal and this morning possible.

God source of light and life.
Help each one of us to elevate and heal
the shattered shards
to reveal the light in You,
the light in me, the light in us. Amen.

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