Bishop Richard F. Stika delivered the invocation at a fundraiser featuring vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan on Sept. 27 at the Knoxville Marriott.
In his prayer, Bishop Stika asked God to bless all who share in His power and authority with wisdom and to help us better understand that the common good also is measured by the respect given to conscience and freedom of religion..
“Almighty God . . . We thank you for your goodness and blessings upon our beloved state of Tennessee and that of this great country of ours graced as one nation under your most merciful love. . . .,” the bishop’s prayer began.
“Bless and protect all here present and all of our labors to promote a more just society. Help us to remember always that true justice begins with acknowledging in thanksgiving and praise you who are the source of all good things. Bless with wisdom all who share in your power and authority in governing the many communities that cover our nation and our world that they may seek to imitate the manner in which you govern the world with truth and love.
“Help us to better understand that the common good is not measured only by material and social well-being, but also by the measure of respect given for the sacred sanctuary of man’s conscience and aspirations to eternal life expressed in the first of our most beloved and cherished freedoms, the freedom of religion.
“Mindful of our own weaknesses and fears that prey upon us as we journey through this life, open our hearts towards those who are particularly close to you in their suffering—those who are lost, those who are in need of your healing and those who find life difficult because of the pressures of the economy and wonderment for the future.
“We ask your blessing upon the unemployed and those especially hard-pressed in life. Raise up good and holy people who are inspired to serve you Lord in the ‘least of these’ in our society. Help us especially address the moral poverty of our age, and empower us with your grace so that we might resist the temptation to replace the moral law with the idols of our own making. Protect those who seek to protect our world; those who are involved in law enforcement and firefighting; those who minister to health of mind and body and especially those involved in military service and are in harm’s way. Protect them Lord we pray.
“O God of wisdom, justice and might, we ask your guidance for those who govern our nation and for those who seek to further serve the common good in public office. In these challenging times, help us to understand that ‘a united society can indeed arise from a plurality of peoples—E pluribus unum: out of many, one.’
“So, in thanksgiving, we ask for your grace that all Americans may choose wisely as we consider the future course of our nation and our state. And Lord, bless this bread that we break together so that it might strengthen us to continue the work of building a shining city on a hill. God bless America. In God we trust.”
Rep. Ryan spoke to a crowd of about 300 people attending the luncheon fundraiser, where Gov. Bill Haslam said about $1 million was raised from supporters for the Romney-Ryan campaign.
It was Rep. Ryan’s first trip to Knoxville since being named the GOP’s choice for vice president by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Rep. Ryan, who is from Wisconsin, flew into McGhee Tyson Airport on a Romney-Ryan campaign jet shortly before the event.
Gov. Bill Haslam and Sen. Bob Corker also spoke at the fundraiser, and U.S. Rep. John Duncan Jr. of Knoxville led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6. The first day for early voting is Wednesday, Oct. 17.