Joe Agne, pastor of Cedaredge United Methodist Church, was invited to give the opening prayer for the opening day of the 2019 Colorado legislative session.
"I think it is important that our new speaker of the House has chosen a Western Slope pastor to be Chaplain of the Day as the 2019 Legislature opens. I feel honored," Pastor Joe said.
Pastor Joe said he first met the new speaker, State Representative KC Becker (D-Boulder, Clear Creek) while serving a church in Boulder. When she traveled to Grand Junction for Club 20 functions, Pastor Joe took note of her commitment to the entire state. Her decision to select Pastor Joe as Chaplain of the Day was just one more indication of her desire to bridge the gap between the urban and rural areas of the state.
Pastor Joe said he found the opening day ceremonies to be quite moving. "I'm such a devotee of democracy," he said. "My soul was warmed just by being there."
He witnessed the passing of the gavel from the former speaker to KC Becker, and the exchange of delegations among the House, the Senate and the governor's office, ending with the declaration that it was time to get down to business. It's clear the Republicans and Democrats disagree on some thing, but the two major political parties also share some common goals.
Pastor Joe said he was also struck by how many children, youth and families were in attendance. "It seems like we're starting off pretty good in 2019," he said.
A written copy of Pastor Joe's prayer will be included in a book of past prayers that's prepared every few years.
He prayed, "Holy One, some of us have names for you: Allah, Yahweh, God, Mother Earth, Presence and more. And we are Colorado.
"Holy One, we follow religiously diverse paths and no religious paths, and for all of us, the mountains, the mesas, the rivers and the plains are our cathedral. We are a people who claim myriad geographies, political persuasions, ideologies, racial and sexual identities, cultures, economic and social locations. We understand our diversity as a gift from you to be enjoyed not a problem to be solved. And we are Colorado.
"Holy One, we celebrate the people we have elected. We will support their commitment to serve the common good even when we disagree. We will pray for them, their staff members, their families and the people who share love with them. We refuse to demean their civic choice to be our leaders. And we are Colorado.
"Holy One, we are honest today. There are many people, politicians and constituents who seem committed to creating breaches in our state, our country and our communities. This is not just other people; sometimes this is us. Forgive us. Help us to be repairers of the breach, healers of brokenness and workers for justice. Help us to be the Colorado you call us to be. And we are Colorado.
"Holy One, we are voters, journalists, grassroots organizers, elected leaders, staff persons, everyday people who want the best for our families, our friends, our neighbors and our state. We are a people's campaign committed to serving the creation and all the people of Colorado. And we are Colorado.
"Holy One, we commit to do all the good we can by all the means we can in all the ways we can, in all the places we can, at all the times we can, with all the people we can, as long as ever we can. And we are Colorado.
"Holy One, we are hopeful as we begin 2019. Give us the courage, the compassion and the wisdom we will need. And we are grateful that we are Colorado.