Friday, June 17, 2016

Prayer at Hoboken's vigil in memory of those murdered in Orlando

My closing prayer at the Hoboken vigil on Wednesday evening June 15, in memory of those murdered in Orlando:

I invite you to join me in praying to the Source of Life.
Our various communities know you by many different names,
but on this we agreed: we learned from You to treasure life.
We learned from You that to take a life is like destroying the entire world,
and to save a life is like saving the entire world.
Dear God, Our heart breaks for 49 precious lives
cut short because of who they were and who they loved.
Where they gathered was supposed to be their safe space.
In their memories, help us to make a safe world.

Help us to make a safe world for our brothers and sisters who are gay and lesbian and bisexual and transgender, who so often are targets of hatred and oppression and violence, so many of whom feel unsafe even in the best of times, let alone today.

Help us to make a safe world for our brothers and sisters in this country who yearn simply to live their lives, to work, to travel, to celebrate, without fearing that they could suddenly become the randomly chosen victim of hatred and violence, whether motivated by extremist religious ideology, or mental illness, or anything else.

Help us to make a safe world for our brothers and sisters who practice Islam as a religion of love and generosity, those who condemn violence and courageously stand up to extremism.

Help us to make a safe world for American schools, neighborhoods, workplaces, and homes where the rates of gun-related deaths and injuries so far exceed that in every other industrialized democracy -- Help us to affirm that this country can do better and can be safer.

Help us to make a safe world for the values that represent our country and our traditions at their best, values often under attack in our world:   values like love, tolerance and respect, reverence for life, generosity and compassion, freedom, and peace.

Help us to bring the day
when all people shall realize that we have not come into being to hate or to destroy.
We have come into being to praise, to labor, and to love.
In memory of those whose lives were cruelly cut down,
Help us to work together for the fulfillment of the Biblical promises:
  ונתתי שלום בארץ ושכבתם ואין מחריד --
‘I will bring peace to the land,
and you shall lie down and no one shall terrify you.’  (Leviticus 26)
and
וישבו איש תחת גפנו ותחת תאנתו ואין מחריד -
’All shall sit under their own vines and their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid." (Micah 4)

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