Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Opening Prayer for the Colorado House of Representatives 1-19-17

Note:  This prayer is based on a prayer that I wrote on behalf of the Rocky Mountain Rabbinical Council in advance of the inauguration of Donald Trump.  I want to thank my RMRC colleagues who made important suggestions and edits to the final version of that prayer.

Opening Prayer for the Colorado House of Representatives
Rabbi Joseph R. Black – Temple Emanuel, Denver, CO
January 19, 2017

Our God and the God of all people:
God of the rich and God of the poor;
God of the powerless and God of the empowered;
God of the homeless and God of the settled;
God of those who live in fear and God of those who feel secure;
God of the faithful and God of those who have no God:

This week, in Synagogues around the world, the weekly scripture reading comes from the Book of Exodus – Chapter 1:

“And a new King arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph.”

There are some who would posit that the linking of this particular Biblical verse with the both the Presidential inauguration and the beginning of a new legislative session is not accidental.  In many ways, it sums up the state of our nation.  In the Biblical text, the new Pharaoh who “did not know Joseph” serves as an ominous foreshadowing of the fact that everything that the Israelites took for granted in the past no longer had any meaning.  Their world was turned upside down overnight and the safety they had felt in their home had vanished.

Here in America, the reality of a new administration in Washington for some brings a renewed feeling of hope and the promise of new perspectives and policies.  For others, the rhetoric of radical change that we have experienced brings a sense of foreboding and grave concern.
How we manage to bridge our divisions will, in no small measure, determine the health and unity of our nation.

Here in Colorado, we too must acknowledge our differences  and work to forge pathways of partnership. At this time of new beginnings, let us pray for the health of our country, our great State of Colorado and all who labor on our behalf.  May these elected representatives find the courage to listen to the words of the prophet Micah, who taught us to seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with the God in whose image we are all created.

Bless these legislators and their staffs, the clerks, guards and everyone who works in this sacred chamber as they strive to craft legislation  based on the values of tolerance, equality and justice.  Guide them to see the humanity and the holiness implanted within all of us – regardless of race, religion, gender, economic status, country of origin, who we love or how we love. 

Grant our leaders patience, courage and humility as they navigate through the difficult waters of the process of governance. Inspire them to collaborate with one another as they act with integrity. Help them to see that we all are partners in the process of strengthening our community.  Bless us, Eternal One, as we celebrate the values of diversity and compassion.  May our nation and our state continue to serve as a beacon of hope for all who are oppressed, excluded, marginalized and persecuted.

God, as we pray for the strength and security of our great State of Colorado, we also look to You to help us find strength within ourselves.  Inspire us to heal the brokenness  in our midst.  Bless us as we bless one another.

We pray for peace:  Oseh Shalom Bimromav – May the One who makes peace on high, send peace to our state, our nation and our world.