Rabbi Simone Schicker, Temple B’nai Israel, Kalamazoo Michigan, Member Congregation of Gamaliel affiliate ISAAC
We are living during divisive times. Every time we log onto social media, read or watch the news or even drive along our neighborhood streets we see the division. Neighbor against neighbor, family member against family member. We know the way forward is to be united, united as one human family yet we find ourselves struggling to see humanity in the other – we are struggling to see the Beloved Community of the Eternal One. It is painful to see the disregard for our neighbor when we are commanded to care for the widow and orphan, to treat the stranger as one of us.
During this election season may we work towards finding humanity in our neighbors, in our family members, in our friends. Let us not lock ourselves inside a bubble of agreement, rather let us push ourselves to reach out and break down the barriers of hatred. This is a lot to ask but we know that without coming together we will continue along this path of divisiveness. A path that leads to hurt not healing. We need healing Eternal One, healing of the body and the soul. The soul you breathed into us needs healing, needs guidance, needs the hope only You can provide. The body you formed for us needs healing, needs nourishment, needs love. We pray for healing Eternal One, for ourselves, our neighbors, our families and our friends. We especially pray for healing for our country, which is pulling itself apart at the seams.
Questions for Reflection
- What healing do you need?
- How can you be of support to someone in your life who needs healing?
- How can voting your values lead to healing?
- What can you do this election season to start to heal the divide?
וַיִּצְעַ֣ק מֹשֶׁ֔ה אֶל־יְהוָ֖ה לֵאמֹ֑ר אֵ֕ל נָ֛א רְפָ֥א נָ֖א לָֽהּ׃
“So Moses cried out to Adonai, saying, “O God, pray heal her!”
רְפָאֵ֤נִי יְהוָה֙ וְאֵ֣רָפֵ֔א הוֹשִׁיעֵ֖נִי וְאִוָּשֵׁ֑עָה כִּ֥י תְהִלָּתִ֖י אָֽתָּה׃
“Heal me, Adonai, and let me be healed; Save me, and let me be saved; For You are my glory.”
The Common Prayer on Our Journey
Source of all being, Sacred mystery, you are the wellspring of justice. Weaver of the warp and weft of history, weave our lives into the fabric of your will. Guide us towards the Beloved Community. Forgive us when we have failed to give shape to the Beloved Community in our communities and in our lives.
All around us the ugly onslaughts of white nationalism, hate crimes, and systemic racism devastate your people, divide us, and threaten our democracy. All around us the wicked strut, and in high places are those who encourage the basest of attitudes and actions. Grant us wisdom and courage to confront these evils with the power of love and truth. Free us from timidity and equivocation. Help us to be bold in thought and action. May our lives and our faith communities model the change we hope to see in the world.
As we approach the November elections, keep us mindful that the right to vote is a sacred trust won by beatings, by imprisonments, by blood, by the relentless struggles of many who came before us. Help us to honor that legacy. May we vote our conscience and encourage others to do the same.
Heal our nation. Heal our hearts. Heal our nation. Amen.
Gamaliel National Religious Leaders’ Caucus invites you to 40 Days of Reflection on Our Journey to the Polls
Few national elections have had similar consequences as the November Election in 2020. Our nation stands in crisis and at a significant crossroad. The Gamaliel Network, an interfaith coalition of persons of faith who stand and act together for justice and equality, pledges to undergird the 40 days leading up to the election with prayer and reflection.
We urge you to use the Common Prayer below every day. On each day, we have asked a faith leader, from different traditions, to offer a reflection on the Common Prayer at this Moment of American Crossroads. We urge you to begin this prayer preparation with a day of fasting on Sept. 24,(or a similar expression of spiritual preparation), and then to engage in prayer at a time of your choosing each day, to prepare yourself, your friends and neighbors, and our nation, for this election.
The Gamaliel Religious Leaders Table has written a “Theological Statement on Hate Crimes and White Nationalism.” a faith statement on “White Nationalism.” The link to this statement is: https://gamaliel.org/our-work/religious-leaders-caucus/gnrlc-a-faithful-response-to-hate-crimes-and-white-nationalism/
Each reflection will include the leader’s personal reflection, questions for contemplation, and a suggested scriptural text from their tradition.
The Gamaliel National Religious Leaders’ Steering Committee