A Prayer in the Shadow of Violence:
Invocation for the CO State House
March 21, 2013
Rabbi Joseph R. Black
Our God and God of all people,
We are weeping here in Colorado- can You hear us?
Once again, our State is reeling from a senseless act of brutality. We mourn the loss of Tom Clements, director of the Colorado Department of Corrections – who was shot and killed this past Tuesday night at his home.
Whatever the circumstances surrounding this tragedy may come to be, we feel powerless and angry as, once again we confront the reality of a seemingly endless spiral of violence that plagues our communities: from Columbine, to Aurora and now, to Monument.
Here – in this chamber, the debates over gun control and violence prevention have raged. New laws have been enacted and signed replete with controversy.
On our streets - tempers have flared. Accusations have been bandied about.
But nothing has changed – if anything, the increasingly hostile rhetoric - within these walls, in the press and in public - has served to fan the flames of passion on all sides.
And so we pray: Help us to channel our grief O God.
Give us the strength to feel shocked, angered, and resolute in our determination to forge partnerships and paths that might lead to hope and healing.
We know that there is no simple solution – and yet we also cannot rest while murder and bloodshed become commonplace on our streets, in our schools, our public places and our homes.
Let these legislators serve as role models - as beacons of balance as they labor to bring about a new era of tolerance and tenacity.
Let them see the good in one another and put an end to the demonization of both person and party that leaches into the hearts and minds of our citizens.
At this sad and somber time we pray that any conflicts that arise during the course of deliberation might serve to elevate the sacred in our souls.
May the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable to You O God – our Rock and our Redeemer[i].