Eternal Spirit of the Universe,
Source of our wisdom and talents,
You are the defender of the stranger, the fatherless,
the widow and the worker.
You have taught us to treat one another with care and respect.
You have directed us to find dignity in ourselves and in our work.
But you have reminded us that dignity on the inside
must be matched with dignity on the outside.
We thank you for employers who see the individuality of every one of their employees.
We pray for stores and corporations that fail to see how workers make their profits possible.
We thank You for the restaurant owner who bails a worker in distress out of jail.
We pray for the boss who refuses to let an employee attend a family funeral.
We thank You for the determination of a single parent who works two or even three jobs to cover household expenses and care for his or her children.
We pray for the store manager who fires a worker for holding down more than one job, which that employee took as a matter of survival.
We thank You for companies that pay for skills training to help workers grow and advance.
We pray for employers who are unable to see in the people who work for them a special spark of creativity right before their eyes that could bring them great benefit if they would only give them a chance to shine.
We thank You for workplaces that generate a true feeling of community, support and concern.
We pray for those employers who create work environments that intentionally keep employees in competition with one another.
We thank You for those business owners who reward the dedication and commitment of faithful and loyal staff members with a living wage, bonuses and benefits.
We pray for those who devalue work and worker alike by claiming that some jobs are inferior to others.
We learn from this saying of the rabbis of the Talmud that we all deserve respect and to be treated with dignity.
“I am a creature of God and my neighbor is also part of creation;
my work is in the city and his work is in the field
I rise early to my work and he rises early to his.
As he cannot excel in my work, so I cannot excel in his work.
But you may be tempted to say, 'I do great things and he small things!'
We have learned that it matters not whether it seems that one does much or little,
That is the type of city and community I want to live in,
one that values every person and his or her work
and one that provides the means for every individual
and every family to live without the fear
of hunger or homelessness due to low wages.
These are ancient teachings in which we believe.
Our hearts will not be hardened.
Our voices will continue to be heard.
Our hands will continue to be open to reach for each other
in love, dignity and respect!
Creator and Sustainer of us all,
We ask you now for strength, for help, and for hope
And may your Oneness inspire our oneness and unity. Amen
*Original text – “directs his/her heart to heaven