Thursday, March 16, 2017

Opening Prayer for the Half Way Point of the CO State House of Representatives

Rabbi Joseph R. Black
Temple Emanuel – Denver, CO
March 16, 2017

There are times in our lives when we are confronted with a realization that our goals, hopes, dreams and visions no longer lie in some fuzzy future, but rather they become suddenly sharply focused in front of us.  They taunt us with the unwelcome awareness of urgency – as though the lengthy upward path on which we have travelled suddenly seems to be growing increasingly rocky – our ascent grows steeper as the summit draws near. And when we retrace our steps to see how far we have come; when we comprehend how little time and space lies in front of us, we realize that the end is now closer than the beginning.  We marvel both at how fast time is passing and how we have dragged our feet to avoid the completion of our sacred tasks.

This morning, we come together in this holy place at the half-way point of our legislative session.  We marvel at the passage of time while simultaneously feeling the anxiety of unfinished business that looms over us.  In a world that demands unyielding perfection from its leaders, human frailty and physical limitations are all too often dismissed as unwelcome weakness.  Words of condemnation come easy in moments of high pressure and passion.  But as hard as we are on our colleagues, we are even harder on ourselves.  Those who have chosen or who have been chosen to serve feel the burden of answering the clarion call of the people:  to make a difference; to change the unchangeable; to fix the flaws in our laws, the fate of our state and the holes in our souls.  And yet, the realities of time and space force us to acknowledge that we cannot complete every task. And so we pray:

Dear God who created us with imperfections.  Watch over all who serve in this chamber:  the legislators and the lawyers, the captains and clerks; the interns and the innovators.  Give them both the strength to pursue the task of governance, and the patience to accept that there is always more to accomplish than is humanly possible.  Protect the souls of your servants who are exposed to the harshness to human expectation.  Help them to support one another –even in the heat of debate and disagreement.  Let any conflict that arises be for the sake of our Great State of Colorado and teach us to quickly forgive the hurts and pains that arise in the midst of the messy process of legislation.   As the end of this session looms ever larger in the forefront of our consciousness, may every person here become reconciled to the necessity for compromise and communion.

We thank You for the ability to make a difference.  We see You in the passion of our colleagues.  We seek Your presence in our daily lives.  AMEN