|Tefillat HaOlam: A Prayer of the World|
By Rabbi Arthur Waskow
You, O Holy One of Being
Interbreathing of all life
Known to all Your cultures and communities
By many sacred Names
You, YyyyHhhhWwwwHhhh (pronounce by just breathing)
Who breathe transforming life into us
Just as we breathe a transforming Voice into the Shofar
You, Who breathe life into us all
So that we breathe in what the trees breathe out
And the trees breathe in what we breathe out
You who breathe into us the wisdom
To shape our breath into words
To shape our words so that they aim
May the words we are with Your help sharing today
Speak deeply — with Your help — to our nation and the world.
Help us all to know that the sharing of our breath with all of life
Is the very proof, the very truth, that we are One.
These ancient words remind us:
"I am the Interbreathing of all life,
And of Me, for Me, from Me, with Me,
Comes all the Earth.
You do not own it.
You must not poison and destroy it.
You must share its bounty with all life
For you are but My guests and visitors." (paraphrased from Leviticus 25)
Remind us that if some few among us
Drunk on their own wealth and power
Pour poison into earth and air and water
Then it is poison that we ALL eat and breathe and drink.
Our sustenance arises from the interweb of life
And it is only through greed and through coercion
That it is gobbled and poisoned by the few.
Together today we call upon our selves
And all our neighbors
To prevent the over-burning of our fossil fuels
That imposes drought and famine on our farms
Floods our rivers and our coastlines
Scorches our planet.
We know that what we call the Climate Crisis
Is a crisis in the balance of the gases
In our planet's atmosphere
A crisis in the Breathing of our planet
A Crisis in Your Name
Yes, a crisis in the very Name of God.
So we light for You this candle
This fire of enlightenment
To light up the Rainbow
In the many-colored faces of Your human cultures
And in the many-colored faces of all life-forms
To affirm that the Earth is not for burning
To affirm that in all our faces
Is the One Spark of Your Presence.
Send us forth from here
With the commitment to turn these words into action
Into compassion, into justice, into healing
Into shaping the Beloved Community
Throughout the Earth.
We call out
In the Name of the One Who is many
In the name of the many who are One.
And may the people say:
Amen! Ah'meyn! Ah'min!
Rabbi Arthur Waskow is the director of The Shalom Center and he has served on the GZA slate for the World Zionist Congress.
"I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles."
- from The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank
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