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Invocation by Rabbi Martin Weiner at the Democratic National Convention (1984)

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Oh, Lord, Creative spirit of the universe,
You are the source of life
and the beauty of nature.
The wonder is churning of the ocean,
the fragrant warmth,
the fields planted with golden grain,
the solemn grandeur of mountain peaks
and tall forests of pine.
Yet your most precious gift
is the human spirit,
peoples of many traditions and cultures
living in a great nation such as ours.

We have come together in this convocation
to affirm our deep faith in the future of democracy.
We pray that wisdom and patience may inspire us
as we seek to fashion the guidelines
by which we hope to build a just society for our nation,
a world of peace for all humanity.

May our country ever be blessed
with leaders of vision, integrity and courage
whose lives will serve as beacons of inspiration
for future generations.
And may we, as citizens,
reconsecrate our energies to the task
of uniting our too often divided society,
breaking down walls of ignorance
and reaching out hands of compassion.
In the words of the modern sage,
“May we not despair about life and curse the darkness?
Let each of us bravely light one candle of hope and love
to illuminate the world.”[1] Paraphrasing John F. Kennedy. “But I think the American people expect more from us than cries of indignation and attack. The times are too grave, the challenge too urgent, and the stakes too high to permit the customary passions of political debate. We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light the candle that can guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future. As Winston Churchill said on taking office some twenty years ago: if we open a quarrel between the present and the past, we shall be in danger of losing the future.” –Speech accepting the Democratic nomination, Los Angeles, California, 15 July 1960. Papers of John F. Kennedy. Pre-Presidential Papers. Senate Files. Series 12.1. Speech Files, 1953-1960, Box 910, Folder: “Acceptance Speech of Senator Kennedy, Democratic National Convention, 15 July 1960,” JFKL. (References a Chinese proverb, “it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”) 
Amen.

This is the full text of Rabbi Martin Weiner’s invocation offered on the second day of the Democratic National Convention, July 17th, 1984, corrected from the closed-captions feed offered by C-SPAN.

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Notes

Notes
1 Paraphrasing John F. Kennedy. “But I think the American people expect more from us than cries of indignation and attack. The times are too grave, the challenge too urgent, and the stakes too high to permit the customary passions of political debate. We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light the candle that can guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future. As Winston Churchill said on taking office some twenty years ago: if we open a quarrel between the present and the past, we shall be in danger of losing the future.” –Speech accepting the Democratic nomination, Los Angeles, California, 15 July 1960. Papers of John F. Kennedy. Pre-Presidential Papers. Senate Files. Series 12.1. Speech Files, 1953-1960, Box 910, Folder: “Acceptance Speech of Senator Kennedy, Democratic National Convention, 15 July 1960,” JFKL. (References a Chinese proverb, “it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”)

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