I speak praise, hope and thanks.
I open my mouth, I open my heart.
I feel the Ancient Prayer:
1. AVOT VE’IMOT – PRAISE OUR ANCESTORS
Bless our inventive ancestors,
Who have given us the
God of the Torah and the God of the Talmud,
the God of our immigrant grandparents and the God of our children,
the God of this community, the God who is each person’s, alone,
and the God who knew our parents, the God who knows our deaths.
To this God, we pray.
Bless our inventive ancestors
Who have given us the
Unknowable God of the mystics,
And the rational God of the philosophers,
The Daddy God of our childhood faith,
And the nonexistent God of our young skepticism,
And now the complicated God-ness of our adult searching.
To this God, we pray.
With all our histories and memories, and with gratitude to all who came before us,
Blessed Was•Is•Will Be, we pray.
2. GEVUROT – PRAISE GOD’S POWER
Hey you, God!
Huge, all-encompassing, incomprehensible,
Incline your metaphorical ear! Open your metaphorical eye!
Toward Us, please.
If you can’t imagine God then you don’t exist.
There is nothing that is not God.
God is no thing.
Blessed be God, bringing us the Wow.
3. KEDUSHAT HASHEM: SANCTIFY GOD’S NAME
HaMavdeel, the Divider of Time;
Adonai, the Uniter Of All Existence;
Ain Sof, That Which Cannot Be Known;
Ruach HaOlam, The Breath That Animates;
Shechina, the Presence of Eternity;
Elohim, God of our Past
Yah, God of our future;
HaMakom, The Place, God of our present.
Kadosh Baruch Hu, Blessed be the Holy It, with so many names.
Let us look from side to side, to see all these possibilities,
The names help us comprehend
That which cannot be comprehended.
All division is false,
All superiority is delusion,
All separation is temporary.
Blessed Adonai Echad, the Uniter Of All Existence
Holy, Holy, Holy!
The One-ness with so many names
An idea too big to be merely a construct?
An presence too vast to be merely a body?
A wholeness too complete to be merely absolute?
We are blessed with many minds with which to imagine God
And many mouths to describe what we see.
Blessed be Achat/Echad, the One-ness, presenting us with so many splendid opportunites for holiness.
4. KEDUSHAT HAYOM – THE DAY IS HOLY
Big sigh of relief, we weren’t sure we’d get here,
Though of course we did.
Awesome and sacred and necessary and regular,
The world is filled with the Divine, we are surrounded!
Hear us, know us.
Love us, enjoy us.
Remember us, rouse us.
Forgive us, inspire us.
It is written:
The Seventh Day is holy
It is the day of the Great Rest.
Bless the Profundity of Shabbat, commanding us to take a nice afternoon nap.
5. AVODAH – HEAR OUR PRAYERS
Are we heard?
God of our strengths and our weaknesses,
God of our current understanding and our lack thereof,
We are in this glorious and troubled place
And we take responsibility for how it turns out.
And we are watchful for our opportunities to serve and build.
And we will pray:
For the ears to hear the truth,
For the eyes to see the suffering,
For the healthy body to take action,
For a community that will sustain us,
For strategies that will work,
For kindness that comes when needed,
For words that explain,
For pleasures that make us happy,
For the outcomes that are good,
For strength when times are bad.
Bless Elohim, the Creator; the Created, Creating.
6. HODA’AH: WE ARE SO THANKFUL.
We bend our knees and bow,
Made humble by this opportunity to say
Thanks to what has brought us to this place
And to each other.
Thank you for whatever love and kindness we have received
And even more for the love and kindness we have given.
Thank you for those who have forgiven us
And to those who have asked us for our forgiveness.
Thank you for the deep rest of Shabbat
And the exciting hope for the coming week
There is so much to learn and feel and fear and change.
We give thanks for all our questions.
And we give thanks for our teachers and elders
Who have given us answers
Which we then teach in our turn,
Which someone else will challenge.
Thanks for being so interesting.
Thank you for listening
Whether you are there or not
Because we need to say it out loud.
May we never take this for granted.
So we say,
Thank You so much!
Blessed HaMakom, this place is so beautiful.
7. BIRKAT HASHALOM: WE PRAY FOR PEACE AND WHOLENESS.
Let us make peace.
Specifically, if we may,
May there be mercy on Israel and Palestine’s people.
May they all be able to see themselves clearly
And may they find themselves able to act ethically.
Please keep them safe from physical harm
And please, if at all possible, keep them sane.
May those who live there aspire to live in harmony and justice with their neighbors.
Bless the God of Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael, Isaac, Rebecca, Esau, Jacob, Rachel, Leah, Zilpah, Bilhah, Moses, Zipporah, Jethro, Naomi, Boaz, Ruth, David, Jesus and Mohammed.
Bless all of us with transcendence from the Light That Illuminates.
Bless all of us with immersion in the Awesome Connection.
Adonai Echad, with compassion for all who are in pain or who cause pain, bless us with the peace of wholeness that we may have decent and happy lives and help others to have the same.
8. OPEN MY HEART
And really, so simple.
Whoever or Whatever is Listening
Even or maybe especially if it’s only myself,
May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be joyful truth.
May the good things I pray for happen and, if not,
May I never forget to hope.