A Prayer blessing a tree planted to honor Mark Costello: ‘The wind that stirs its leaves’
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Published: 23-Aug-2016

Note: This prayer of blessing was delivered shortly before the planting of a Redbud Tree at the Oklahoma Department of Labor, on August 23, 2016. Before delivering the prayer, Rev. Hamilton called upon the help of the Lord, “who made heaven and earth.” The event was held ot honor the late Mark Costello, who led the agency from 2011-15.

Lord God, bless + this your creature. May that which we plant today be given health + and strength + to stretch its roots deep in this soil, from which we pray it will flourish for years to come as a sign of the beauty of Your creation and a peaceful reminder of your dedicated servant and our friend, the late Labor Commissioner Mark Costello.
Like the wind that stirs its leaves may your Holy Spirit be breathed forth on us who mourn Mark's loss, bringing us consolation, peace, and faith in your invitation to resurrection and newness of life in the heavenly kingdom.
Heal the pain of those who weep on this year anniversary. Scatter the fear and confusion of those who suffer mental illness. Strengthen the resolve of those who seek to advance the dignity of labor and those who advocate for the care of the mentally ill.
From the Book of Genesis, we read that at the center of your garden of blessing, O God, stood the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The sad effects of human sin seemed to overshadow the beauty and the order of Your garden Heavenly Father, just as sin and disorder has impacted our lives too, most especially in Mark's death which we commemorate today.
However, in faith we recall that at the center of your plan of salvation, O God, stood another tree -- that on which was hung Jesus our Savior. Just as that tree of suffering brought about the beauty and the order of forgiveness and eternal life we ask you to stretch forth your powerful arm to bless + and sanctify + this tree that it may serve as a sign of hope and a reminder of Mark's good life. Father, as we watch this tree grow in the years ahead may it inspire us to grow in your service and to seek reconciliation with you.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Editor’s Note: Father Hamilton is the pastor at St. Monica Church in Edmond, Oklahoma, where members of the Costello family often worship. The ‘S.T.L.’ in his formal title indicates he holds a ‘Licentiate of Sacred Theology’ .

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