Invocation for the Colorado House of Representatives
February 6, 2013
Rabbi Joseph R. Black
Temple Emanuel - Denver, CO
We all know the story: Moses ascends Mt. Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments. He descends and finds, to his horror, that in his absence, the people built a Golden Calf. Smashing the tablets in anger and disgust, he once again ascends God’s holy mountain.
Upon returning, Moses gently puts the second set of the Ten Commandments into the Ark of the Covenant.
Throughout their forty years of wandering, the Israelites see that Ark and those Tablets wherever they travelled.
The rabbis of old asked a question: What happened to the original, broken set of tablets? Were they discarded? Recycled? Abandoned?
One answer is that they were placed inside the Ark next to the second pair that was whole.
So that the people could see them and realize that brokenness is as much a part of life as completeness.
Let us pray:
Dear God – help us to see and hear the brokenness around us:
· On the streets of our cities;
· In the cries of children and parents who cannot care for them;
· In our parched landscape that thirsts for moisture;
· In the overcrowded schools where students thirst for knowledge;
· In the eyes of the innocents;
· In the lies of the guilty.
But let us not stop with mere perception – lest we build another Golden Calf of apathy and callousness. We pray that our seeing and hearing might spur us to action.
May the pristine surroundings of this beautiful chamber not blind us to the incompleteness that awaits us once we leave these hallowed halls.
On this day of deliberation, may these legislators be healers – bringing wholeness to the brokenness that propelled them to serve our great state of Colorado.
May this day be a day of hope, of wholeness and of collaboration. Then we shall all be a blessing.