Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Invocation for Colorado State House - 4/19/12. Holocaust Remembrance

Invocation for the Colorado House of Representatives
Holocaust Remembrance
Rabbi Joseph R. Black
Temple Emanuel – Denver, CO
April 19, 2012

Our God and God of all humanity,

At this solemn occasion when we commemorate the victims of the Holocaust, we turn our thoughts and prayers to memory:

The memories of those who perished in the monstrous Nazi machinery of death.
The Memories of those righteous ones who stood up to evil – at their own peril
The memory of our ability to hate
The memory of our ability to heal
The memory of our ability to learn from the past
The memory of our inability to learn from the past and, in our hubris and passion repeat the mistakes of our mortality again and again.

On this morning we search for healing and renewal.

As we gather in this sacred chamber, let us acknowledge that our leaders have the power to enlighten our community.  Let us also remember that, all too often, throughout history there have been those who chose to wield power to create darkness and chaos.

Guide these legislators, O God.  On this day that we honor, sanctify and grieve at the loss those who died at the hands of murderers who failed to see the humanity of their victims, help these elected officials to look beyond the minutia of legislation and see the faces of those who will be impacted by the laws they pass.

Keep them humble, O God.  Keep them focused on the good that they can and will do – in partnership and collaboration – regardless of race, creed, gender or political affiliation.

God, you give us memory - for even at times when You were silent, You remembered us

In times when we have seemed to forget You - we came back to you

In the shadow of our loss, let us find the ability to heal – to renew ourselves and our souls – to rededicate our lives to community building – with strength, with love, with hope.

We honor those who died for the sanctification of Your name.

May they be for an Eternal blessing.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Opening Prayer for the Colorado House At Budget Time.

Opening Prayer for the Colorado House of Representatives
April 11, 2012
Rabbi Joseph R. Black – Temple Emanuel – Denver, CO

God – where can we find you?
Are you only in the sanctuaries of the faithful where ritual and rubric move in a carefully choreographed  routine of dedicated petition and praise?
Or, perhaps you reside in the rooms of the sick and dying - where fevered prayer cries out in desperation and faith.
Are you in the mountain top from which – newly melted snow flows into the thirsty valleys below…
Can we catch a glimpse of your presence in the majestic sunsets that fill our hearts with awe and our minds with wonder?
Is there any limit to your presence?
Surely – there is no place for you in the figures and the formulae that fill the pages of our State budget.
You cannot possibly be found in the amendments, revenue forecasts, cuts and proposals that have kept these lawmakers in these chambers late into the night.
And yet…. Each number, each column each redline and reshuffling reflects our values and our ability to make a difference  - to build, to teach, to heal – to tear down, to eliminate and to eradicate……
We are finite beings – O immortal Creator.  We can only work with the tools and the resources You give us. 
Help these legislators to see the souls of all who are impacted by the decisions they make. 
Let them understand the hope and fear of the vulnerable and infirm;
Show them the faces of the children and the teachers, the nurses and the social workers, the police and firemen and women  and so many more on whom we depend and who depend on these elected officials to ensure that they can do their sacred work.
Let them see that politics and party-lines serve no purpose other than to obscure Your presence from the sacred deliberations that take place in this hallowed hall.
Give these legislators the strength to do what is right and to honor the dignity of all of your creation.
Let them move away from partisanship and look to the light of compromise – of partnership – of mutual support and respect as they make the difficult decisions that will affect all of us.
You are here – God – now.  Let us feel Your presence. And let that awareness move us all to a higher calling.