I was asked to do the invocation at the opening ceremony of the Empire State Games, a Olympic-style event for Athletes from NY State. I remember going to these once as a child but can’t remember where they were held. It’s a non-denominational style of prayer and I wanted to focus on the athlete’s gifts for themselves and for all of us.

Let us all remind ourselves that we are always in the presence of God.

As we call for God’s blessing on our athletes… we acknowledge that these athletes are signs of God’s creativity in the world. We see God in them as they live, and move, and have their being…and so we ask God

to bless their legs with swiftness,
their arms with might,
and their eyes with clarity…

But most of all Holy One, may you bless their hearts and the hearts of all here present—so that we might bless a broken world with love.

Holy one, may the gifts that we see before us, this week, in these athletes, inspire all of us to push the limits of all we can be so that we too can be gifts to the world.

So that our love will always conquer hatred,
and so that peace will always prevail.
May the light of truth always break the darkness of fear and doubt.

It is in that great spirit of giving and gratitude that we ask God to bless these athletes and all those who will watch and support them both now and forever. Amen.

Video cameras weren’t allowed in the stadium but I snapped this picture of UB President John Simpson welcoming the athletes who packed the red zone of the football field easily.

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