A Prayer for Tolerance:
Invocation for the Colorado State House of Representatives
February 21, 2013
Rabbi Joseph R. Black
Temple Emanuel – Denver, CO
Our God and God of all people:
God of the poor and God of the wealthy;
God of the meek and God of the mighty;
God of the impassioned and God of the impoverished
God of those who have no God…..
There are times when we look at your world and see the delicate balance that you have bequeathed to us.
Sunlight, seed and moisture come together to feed, soothe, heal and inspire us.
Bones, sinews, and tissue are infused with the gift of life and understanding.
And we who have been granted the ability to discern stand in awe of it all.
And yet – all is not perfect in your world, O God - all is not serene. Beneath the surface beauty that inspires is the reality of constant struggle.
Your creatures fight to survive.
Scarce resources are claimed by the strong, the swift, and the fortunate. Those who can take will live to see another tomorrow. Those too weak are quickly extinguished.
But we, who are human, claim to have conquered our savage selves. Our laws and systems of governance and justice are designed to help us rise above our passions. We claim to be Your partners. And yet we still have not found a way to govern without conflict. We create both winners and losers. In this very room, tempers have flared and hurtful words have been spoken. As this legislative session progresses and gathers steam; as late nights and early mornings give way to frayed tempers and intolerance, we pray that any debate that takes place be devoid of personal prejudice or political patronage. May the differences that divide these representatives serve the good of all our citizens. Help them to remember that humanity is created in the Divine image – as such, all creation is worthy of respect.
Let these leaders learn tolerance, O God – even for those whose core beliefs are different from their own. May empathy guide their deliberation. Help them to listen to one another and see that their task is dialogue, not diatribe. They are allies, not adversaries. May we all remember that the differences that separate us are an essential aspect of our diversity, our humanity and our strength.