Monday, June 16, 2003
                                                         Rabbi Arnold E. Resnicoff
                                                                 Guest Chaplain

Almighty God of freedom, who gave us the promise and the dream of liberty to be proclaimed throughout the land, we pause before this session to recall words spoken by a Senate nominee--Abe Lincoln--on this day, June 16, in 1858.  "A nation divided against itself cannot stand," he said, and we "cannot endure half slave, half free."

O Lord our God and God of generations past, we offer thanks for all the progress we have made since that historic speech, even as we recognize we still have more to do.  Slavery, the institution, is no more. But let us unite in our resolve that none should be enslaved by prejudice or hatred that threatens the humanity and dignity we've fought to recognize and guarantee; that none, victimized by ignorance or discrimination, live lives half slave, half free.

Grant us and all our leaders, the wisdom to debate and disagree, with civility and respect, the issues of the day.  But give us, we pray, the wisdom and the faith we need to safeguard a nation united, not divided--indivisible, as we pledge--in our pursuit of liberty and justice for us all.

And may we say, Amen.