You challenge us to remember why we are here.
We do have our own plans, views, desires, hopes, and commitments.
Some of them are a function of the life we have chosen.
Others may, in some way, touch upon what we are called to do by our ancient heritage.
It is our duty to find quiet moments on our own and to join a community in prayer to gain an appreciation for the world, to remember our loved ones who have died, and to rededicate ourselves to the values of learning, freedom, rest, kindness and peace.
It is our responsibility to reach out to people in need in a way that transcends boundaries and differences. Do not oppress the strangers among you, You have said, and treat them as if they were citizens. Extend your hand to the poor among you, You have said.
If we accept these teachings that have been handed down to us, then our association with each other in this place could lead to reaching for some of those goals and fulfilling your teachings about how we can act in a world that needs our help.
Empower us to give hope to one another, to stop hatred and bullying in its tracks, and to seek ways to join with others in the community to accomplish these important tasks.
And when we have guests coming into our midst, remind us how we felt when we were strangers and newcomers, so that we will treat recent arrivals with a sense of embrace that will exude care and warmth.
Always be with us as we put one foot in front of the other in our journey towards a future that we can, together, fill with goodness and promise.