Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Gardens and Gavels: Opening prayer for the Colorado State House. 4-5-18

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Opening Prayer for the Colorado House of Representatives
Rabbi Joseph R. Black
Temple Emanuel – Denver, CO
April 5, 2018

Our God and God of Times and Seasons.
This past week, people of faith around the world have celebrated festivals that celebrate new life, hope and redemption.  Easter reminds Christians of the potential to be reborn with faith and hope.  Passover teaches my community the vital message of redemption and renewal.
We have come to this sacred chamber this morning to find hope, purpose and bring about change.  The dynamic process of debate and discussion that begins with drop of the speaker’s gavel, while sometimes imperfect, represents our human desire to bring our world one step closer to holiness.
Legislation will be carefully crafted.
Words will be chosen with exquisite care – designed both to provoke and to move the hearts and souls of colleagues on opposite sides of the isle.
Alliances will be forged and broken and forged again – subject to the whims of political reality and the delicate dance of public opinion.
In truth it is a messy process.
This holy time of the calendar teaches us that there is always an opportunity for new beginnings.  As seasons change and winter turns to spring, we see new growth all around us.
The walls of this chamber sometimes seem to be all consuming, and yet, outside it is almost time for planting.
Those who dream of gardens know that the soil must first be prepared; last autumn’s debris removed and nutrients must be liberally applied.
The seeds that promise both blossom and harvest lie dormant in the palms of our hands – waiting to be nestled in the warm embrace of fertile soil soaked in life-giving water.
Holy Creator - may these men and women who labor on our behalf become gardeners.  Give them the strength to till the fields; to break new ground, to water new shoots and, (dare I say it?), spread the fertilizer necessary to bring to harvest a better vision for our state.
Give them the tools they need.  Help them to remember that the ever-changing climate of Spring will soon give way to the consistent warmth of summer. 
May ours be a balanced garden – filled with both beauty and sustenance.  May the harvest of this holy session overflow with goodness and compassion.
We pray for rain.  We pray for strength. We give thanks for the ability to be your partner in growing a better world.

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