A copy of the prayer I delivered at an interfaith rally to end gun violence, sponsored by Colorado Faith Communities United to End Gun Violence, of which Temple Emanuel is a founding member:
Avinu She’bashamaim, our Holy One in heaven, with solemnity and courage we stand before you today. For too long we have stood idly by while the blood of our neighbors has stained our streets and our conscious red. We have allowed fear to guide our hands and our laws rather than love and hope. Today we seek Your help. We have endured horrific crimes committed using tools of our own invention – guns that have no purpose in our world other than to harm another human being and, ultimately, to end life.
We seem unaware of the fact that life is our most precious gift, and that not just some but all human beings are created in the divine image. An image we witness when we look another person in the eyes and peer into their soul; an image we see whether they are black, white, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, atheist or agnostic, whether they were born in the United States or abroad, or whether they are democrat or republican – we are all created in the divine image.
We have been tortured by news headlines that speak of mass murders of our children, evoking fear when we go to the movies, walk in the park, and even when we go to school. We have gasped while watching our children lie in the streets for hours, we have been horrified when major cities are on lock down. And for each of these awful moments of mass destruction of life, we know that individuals lose their lives each day to gun violence that goes unreported. We pray that the violence will end soon.
Yihi ratzon milfanecha, may it be Your will that we work together to create a safer world, a world filled with peace. A world where we can realize the vision of the prophet by turning swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks, where nation will not lift up sword against nation and never again will we know war or violence. Give us the strength and courage to take action and guide our hands not with fear but with love and hope.
Oseh Shalom bimromav, Hu ya’asei shalom, aleinu v’al kol yoshvei teivel, v’irmru amen. May the One who creates peace on high create peace for all of us, for everyone who dwells on earth, and let us say, amen.