Monday, December 31, 2018

Listen...for the Oneness - A Poem/Prayer - for the Temple Beth-El Las Cruces January 19 Adelante Newsletter

Eternal God,
I declared again that you are One    
as I prepared for worship with my  
congregation on this coming Shabbat.
The Torah asks several times,
in the book of Deuteronomy,
for “Israel” to listen. 
I am Israel.  I am one among many who are Israel. 
I am Israel because my ancestry
is filled with generations
of members of the Jewish people. 
I am Israel because I am a struggler with You
as I look upon a world that does not always reflect
the relationships You want us to develop,
and the love You want us to extend to one another.
And I am listening.
I hear words that direct me to love You
and to love my fellow human beings.
I hear voices that cry for help and support.
I hear cries for freedom and
desperate prayers that call for an end
to oppression and hatred. 
I hear the sounds of my own community in prayer
singing together
Shema Yisrael: Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Echad.
No matter what the melody may be,
this declaration guides me. 
I call You our God, our YUD-HAY-VAV-HAY
because I believe that the letters in Your name
speak to the very essence of our existence:
The root word of Your name
means “is, was, will be”: EXISTENCE.
The letters themselves
can all be vowels that are quiet, even silent.
When spoken, they are like breathing,
expressing the self-contained rhythm
of our individual lives,
a rhythm which sustains all of us,
connecting us within a Oneness
that encompasses us all.
That Oneness is You. 
Some say that only You are real
and that we are actually inside of You.
Others say that You are an Intrinsic Presence
inside and outside each of us,
binding everything together
in ways which we recognize best
only when we close our eyes,
because we see only difference and division
when our eyes are open.
We often forget that,
when we say You are One,
we are professing connectedness
between one human being and another
and affirming our collective presence
in this world where we find ourselves,
trying to coexist in ways
that will prevent hurt and destruction.
Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad
is an admission that we have a responsibility to         
reflect and practice, in all that we do,
Your love, Your care, and Your compassion
as we walk through our daily journey.
Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad
demands of us not to shut each other out.
It challenges us to find paths to understanding,
to turn conflict into cooperation,
and to discover new ways to forge partnerships
that will truly make us one as You are One.
Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad
is a phrase that I have been saying and singing,
Eternal One, from my youngest days until now.
The sounds of many voices singing these words
as if they were one voice
stirs my soul
and reminds me that we have it within ourselves          
to truly connect with one another,                                 
to know one another,
and to accept one another
once and for all.
Be with us, Eternal, our God,
in whom we are One,
as we strive to create among us
some measure of the Unity
that is You.

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