Saturday, January 21, 2017

Three Expressions of Free Expression - Prayers at a Crucial National Historical Moment - on Exodus Chapter 1 and statements of the day

A prayer for Shemot and a crucial historic moment 
January 19, 2017
Eternal God,
Who led the Israelites to freedom,
The Torah reminds us of the consequences of forgetfulness
As the new Pharoah who did not know Joseph
Saw fit to enslave an entire population of people
From which had come the very man who had led the people through a difficult time of famine and despair.
The Torah reminds us of courage, as the midwives Shifrah and Puah found a way to save one special and important male child
Born after Pharaoh’s tragic decree to deny life to all infant boys to live born among the Israelites.
The Torah reminds us of awareness, faith, and a sense of holiness,
As Moses turned aside to see a bush that burned but was not consumed and heard a voice calling for him
To lead his people out of slavery to a new beginning.
Seeing the appearance of fire did not elicit fear in Moses, but wonder, and determination and hope.  
Moses was told that he stood on holy ground at that moment, but even when he eventually approach Pharoah at his palace, Moses’ presence made the ground holy
Because he sought freedom for his people.
Moses declared, before Pharaoh, the call from a God of freedom and compassion
Who heard the cries of suffering from among the Israelites.
He spoke God’s instruction to him so that it could resound
through all Egypt to reveal the crime of enslaving an entire people and forcing them to engage in hard labor.
So help us, God, today and at all times,
To walk with courage, to remember the good that has come to us from all types of leaders and workers on behalf of all people, to keep our eyes open to wonders that might inspire us to be advocates for freedom, and to hear the cries of those in need so that we can lead them to a better place which will, in turn, take us to a better place as well.

Eternal God, 
You are hearing everything we say,
Watching all that we do, 
Wondering when we are going to start talking in positive terms about the here and now, not just future greatness. 
We learn from the Rabbis to "look at each other in the most positive way."   
That includes the way in which we view our nation in the moment.    
There could be a more positive outlook if we could see the good in where we are now along with the challenges 
And the best parts of ideas from left, right, and center, 
So that there might actually be some respect generated among us.  You are said to love stories, Source of knowledge, Companion in our experiences along the path of life. 
Help us to create more stories of acceptance, understanding, and even partial reconciliation that can lead us forward....because we know how ridicule and revenge can only bring us down to where we should not go.    
Lead us to sit down and listen to one another. 
Remind us of the values of our national community and the tenets of any faith that we might follow that can lead us to the unity we so sorely need.   
Be with us on our journey.....

Benediction at Temple Beth-El – January 20, 2017

A Final Reflection on Sh’mot - and a response to the "Fractured Faiths" exhibit at the New Mexico History Museum that portrayed the migration of Crypto-Jews to this continent - and how the Inquisition found some of them.....a lesson for today


God of all peoples,

We approach you in prayer with the hope that our words will inspire us

to reach out in friendship to members of the human family representing all faiths and all backgrounds, all cultures and all ideologies.

We know, however, that at times, the fear of the other

Can overtake leaders of nations and their citizens

Resulting in programs of enslavement, expulsion and execution

Carried out to the point of obsession

As if nothing else in life mattered

As if the ability to see the divine image in every person

Had been lost to the detriment of a community or nation.

The Israelites in Egypt,  the Jews of Spain, Jewish communities in Europe during World War II and even Crypto-Jews who came to this continent several hundred years ago,

some seeking escape from tyranny or seeking just to survive,

Eventually found no refuge, gained no respite from hatred.

Rulers and community members forgot the good those people had done

And The contributions they had made to knowledge, to culture, and to the richness of faith.

Who knows what was lost from those who were put to death

Because their firm commitment to the heritage of their birth persisted

And they were discovered by those seeking to root them out?

Who knows what the world would be like today

If faith officials and national leaders had sought to be inclusive and open-hearted

Rather than inflexible and fixated on those people whom they saw as a threat

But were only trying to live their lives with treasured beliefs intact?

Guide us today, Eternal One,

To keep our eyes and ears open

So that we can combat ruthless targeting of enemies,

Bullying of ideological opponents,

And the perpetuation of hatreds that should have ended long ago.

When we recite the words of the Psalmist,

“How good and how pleasant it is when people dwell together in unity,”
Help us, God of all ages, to teach others that it will not be because of the victory of one perspective over another that we will thrive –

It will be through reaching understanding, encouraging open discussion, and achieving meetings of the mind and compromise that we can move forward not only as a nation but as a worldwide community. 

Help us, Source of compassion and justice, to always put humanity, created in Your image, first in our minds, in our hearts, and in our work to heal the world.


No comments:

Post a Comment