City of Shelbyville (KY) Council Meeting
17 July 2014
Linda Allewalt (489 words - 3:08)

Good evening. As this is a secular invocation and not a prayer, there is no need to stand during my presentation. Tonight I would like to have us think about “blessings”. 

Last year the City Council passed a set of Resolutions outlining their new program for including Invocations in the City Council meetings. In the Resolutions, the Council stated that the main purpose of an opening invocation was “for the benefit and blessings of the Council”. 

The word “blessings” drew my attention because it is a word heard often in our society in differing contexts. I wondered what the term really means. The origins of the word “bless” are from Old English and its meaning is connected to a human action. It refers to the action of sprinkling blood on a pagan altar. I don’t think that is what the City Council had in mind.

But what did they have in mind when using that term? It appears from reading the Resolutions and how the invocation system is set up that they feel the source of blessings comes exclusively from a divine entity. But is that true? And what do “blessings” have to do with the realm of government?

The Founders of our country provided us with a clue in this paragraph. “We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

The Founders did not mention a divine source for their “blessings”, but a human one… we the people. We the people take the actions and make the laws to secure our blessings for ourselves and for future generations. Following these words are the contents of our Constitution… a vehicle to assist us in securing our blessings of liberty. The Constitution makes no mention of a deity in creating this vehicle, and its authors chose not to invoke blessings from a divine entity during their deliberations. 

I would appeal to the City Council and those in attendance here to consider this:

In government, blessings are the actions we take and the decisions we make out of our common human desire to form communities and make them successful. The Council’s blessings come from working with fellow Council members in trying to fulfill their roles as representatives of all the people. They also come from the citizens who take the time to attend and offer their advice, their expertise, and even their criticism. These blessings do not need to be invoked. They are at your fingertips every day. So I would encourage the City Council and all those who make the efforts to ensure the success of our community to consider these observable and measurable blessings… to consider their true source, and to never forget to count them!