here in the United States, home of many and mingled people, all of whom we honor, we bring our astonished praise for all the gifts that surround us.
Having just learned the names of MacArthur Foundation Fellows of 2017, we have been at least introduced to marvelous ways our universe and our lives work.
Immunologist Gabriel Victora born in Brazil found after probing the subtleties of piano performance that in science he could unwind how antibodies over time improve their ability to fight germs. We pray in wonder that all unthinking we are protected by more than we understand. We pray in gratitude that gifts of intelligence and perseverance have allowed us to see more and more of how things work.
Writer Jesmyn Ward, lifelong resident of the Mississippi Shore, has distilled the painful and hopeful grapes of the racial vineyard of her home and her life into a drink for us all. We pray for the patience and insight to sip it.
Photographer Dawoud Bey has through his lenses brought the biblical injunction to use our eyes to see into our own time and issues.
Community organizers, artists, musicians, scientists, they all reveal dimensions of understanding beyond what most of us can discern. They exercise abilities beyond what most of us have. Yet they are enough like us to serve as reminders not just of gifts we lack but also of gifts we have.
In a world struggling with mass murder, wildfires out of control, ominous environmental change, all the age-old problems of human frailty and fault, we pray for strength to uphold virtue, persistence to endure suffering, humility to support others, and compassion.
Dear God, we live in a world of many marvels, peopled by geniuses and others. We offer our bedazzled praises and our heartfelt need for your companionship.