The first order of business when the Senate returned from its recess last week was the chaplain's prayer. Considering what has happened since, the lawmakers could have done far worse than listen closely to the words of the Rev. Richard C. Halverson:

"Let us pray.

" 'They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.' -- Isaiah 40:31.

"Gracious God, our Loving Father, the Senate has been through a very stressful period, and the days ahead promise no relief.

"Help the senators and their staffs to realize that one can suffer serious consequences from emotional and mental stress, even when unaware of the stressful situation.

"Grant to the senators and their staffs the wisdom to find a few minutes daily to relax, to be still, to listen to the silence, to contemplate.

"Especially we pray for our leaders, who are under such great pressure to get things done before the August recess.

"Help them to lean on Thee and be receptive to Thy grace and strength.

"Remind all who bear the pressures of office to take seriously their responsiblity to themselves to keep physically and emotionally fit.

"In His name who said, 'Come unto Me, ye who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.'


Amen! Bilingual Education

Thomas Buergenthal, the outgoing dean of the American University's College of Law, received an unusual gift -- a book about himself that he never had been able to read -- from the graduating class in June.

We learn of the touching gift from a recent item in The National Law Journal, which covers the legal profession.

Born in Czechoslovakia 51 years ago, Buergenthal was held captive during World War II in two Nazi concentration camps.

In one, he met Odd Nansen, a Norwegian author and architect who had been imprisoned for opposing his country's Nazi-backed Quisling regime.

The now-deceased Nansen published, in 1970, a book in Norwegian about Buergenthal that was titled "Tommy."

Buergenthal, fluent in many languages, but not Norwegian, was never able to read it.

At the graduation, as a going-away gift, Buergenthal was presented an English-language translation of "Tommy" that the A.U. law school had commissioned.

The translator was Christopher C. Smallwood of Washington.

Buergenthal will teach in the fall at the Emory University school of law in Atlanta.