A Word from Rabbi Schulman - 9/2/16

At every meeting of the Tri-City Interfaith Council, we begin and conclude with a prayer or meditation. At yesterday's meeting, Sister Annette Berkart offered a beautiful prayer that really touched me.

I do not know who composed “A Prayer for Creation.” In 1989 Patriarch Dimitrios I of the Eastern Orthodox Church proclaimed September 1 as a day to remember our relationship to the earth. Other faith traditions have joined in doing so as well.

The prayer begins with an admission that humanity has lost its way. We have sinned against the earth by our acts of exploitation. We ask for forgiveness and we pray that we change our ways and renew creation.

This prayer reminds me of the central themes of the High Holy Days: acknowledging our faults, confessing our sins, asking for forgiveness, and vowing to do better. T’filah (prayer), T’shuvah (returning to our true selves), and Tzedakah (righteous acts) are core elements of not only Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur but how a Jew should live each day.

Though I hear Jewish themes echoed in “A Prayer for Creation,” at the same time every person can join in offering these words. As human beings, we are all created in the Divine image. All humanity is responsible for caring for our precious planet.

A Prayer for Creation

We have forgotten who we are.

We have forgotten who we are We have alienated ourselves from the unfolding of the cosmos We have become estranged from the movements of the earth We have turned our backs on the cycles of life.

We have forgotten who we are.

We have sought only our own security We have exploited simply for our own ends We have distorted our knowledge We have abused our power.

We have forgotten who we are.

Now the land is barren And the waters are poisoned And the air is polluted.

We have forgotten who we are.

Now the forests are dying And the creatures are disappearing And the humans are despairing.

We have forgotten who we are. We ask forgiveness We ask for the gift of remembering We ask for the strength to change.

We join with the earth and with each other. To bring new life to the land To restore the waters To refresh the air

We join with the earth and with each other.

To renew the forests To care for the plants To protect the creatures

We join with the earth and with each other.

To celebrate the seas To rejoice the sunlight To sing the song of the stars

We join with the earth and with each other.

To recall our destiny To renew our spirits To reinvigorate our bodies

We join with the earth and with each other.

To create the human community To promote justice and peace To remember our children We join together as many and diverse expressions of one loving mystery: for the healing of the earth and the renewal of all life.

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