I wrote this prayer for the Middle School kids at the UU Church in Medford MA. We read an edited/shorter version for the Children’s Service this past Sunday, so I wanted to have the full text here. Feel free to recite at your own leisure for reflection:
Let us now enter into a time of prayer, meditation and silent reflection. Take a deep collective breath and come into this sacred space together.
O, Thou of many names and no name; You who come to us in the forms of Gods and Goddesses of religions past and present; You who come to us in the forms of nature and science; You who speak to us through the Bible, the Torah, the Koran, the Tao Te Ching and other spiritual texts; You who speak to us in poetry, prose, music, art, and the prophetic voices of others.
Whether we refer to the Divine by a holy name or simply the unknown, we come together in praise and thanks. We give thanks that we are here among friends and family. We give praise for not only one more day of life, but in thanks to the lives of specific people who touch our hearts and make our time here special. Love is a blessing that is best experienced when shared.
We give thanks to this community and the joy to be a part of it. The sacredness of this space is made so not only by our love for that beyond us all, but also for the love we have for each other and the space we make for that love. May all who enter this community find warmth, comfort, and peace, and may we be able to provide those gifts.
We give thanks to the larger communities of which we are a part. We are residents of the Greater Boston area within the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We are citizens and residents of the United States of America, sharing borders with Canada and Mexico on the continent of North America. We are of western civilization sharing the planet with eastern cultures. We are spiritual beings living a human experience on the Earth that is our only home in this universe.
Although we are children of God, we are human and we can sometimes forget that we are ALL children of God. In times of such self centeredness and fear, we can do harmful things in the name of country and religion. In those moments—of which seem to pass more so and more often—let us make every effort to remember wisdom of the common good: From Hillel, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole Torah; all else is commentary”; from Chief Dan George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, “We are as much alive as we keep the earth alive”; from the Prophet Muhammad, “Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself.”
And in this wisdom, let us find the strength and the courage to bring peace to our hearts, peace to our neighbor’s hearts and peace to our world. May our leaders and elected officials get past our differences of false borders and empty rhetoric and truly see each other as we are: part of the same human family with needs and dreams. May we learn to see that the other is merely an extension of ourself and in that realization act as though helping the poor, the prisoner, the soldier, the refugee truly is helping us because it is.
Thank you for giving us another day in hopes to get this right. Thank you for illuminating the right path so we may to travel it together. Thank you for the gifts of reason and speech to understand the ways of justice and speaking its truth. And thank you for the gifts of each other so we can share the burden and provide comfort and company in the journey onward.
Amen, Selah, Amin, Ase ase, Namo Amida Buddha, Blessed be.