Posts Tagged ‘#blacklivesmatter’

 

For George Floyd’s Family

Posted on: April 21st, 2021 by Alden No Comments

After a moment of joy and relief at the guilty verdicts in the murder of George Floyd, my overwhelming emotion is sorrow, my heart immediately with a daughter without her father and a brother without his brother. This is a prayer for justice and healing, my anger and indignation already expressed in “Strangled by Police: Psalm of Protest 17” which I’ve added here to create a two-prayer liturgy. Both pieces refer to Amos 5:24, envisioning a time when justice will flow as water.

For George Floyd’s Family
The courtroom is silent, for now,
But the walls echo with shouts from the streets,
Joy and relief for a verdict of guilty,
For a moment of truth, at long last.
But the heavens,
The heavens still weep
For the soul of a man taken too soon,
For another fatherless daughter,
And another brotherless brother,
For you, George Floyd,
For your family,
And for Duante Wright, Rayshard Brooks,
Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson,
And all – the named and the unknown –
Who’ve lost their lives at the hand of police
Because of the color of their skin.

Source of Peace,
The cost of freedom is so high,
Death and bereavement,
Pain and fear,
Sorrow and loss.
We will not cease the work of tikkun olam (repairing the world),
The work for pikuah nefesh (the sanctity of life),
Not until heaven can stop weeping for one more,
And one more,
And one more,
Dead.

G-d of love,
Send Your healing to the family of George Floyd,
Grant them continued strength,
Now and in the days and years to come.
Hold them,
Guide them,
Support them,
As they celebrate a righteous verdict,
And as they continue to grieve
A brother, a father, a man
Whose life was stolen,
Whose death trumpets
The call to action,
And a verdict that heralds
A renewed hope for the day
When “justice will well up as water,
And righteousness as a mighty stream.” (Amos 5:24)
May his soul be bound up in the bond of life,
A living blessing in our midst.

Strangled by Police: Psalm of Protest 17
A psalm of protest,
In memory of George Floyd,
Sung at the gates of justice,
When black men are strangled in the streets,
When power is abused and jails overflow,
When the voiceless are forgotten and minorities misused.
Open, you gates!
Open to the cries of those murdered, jailed or harassed
For being black,
For being a person of color,
For being homeless, indigent, destitute or unwanted,
The detained, the hounded,
The pursued and the persecuted,
Those who are killed while being restrained.
Open, you gates!
Let righteousness flow forth as living waters,
And truth flow forth as healing balm,
To still the hand of violence and hatred,
To cure the heart of bigotry and racism,
To herald fairness and equality,
And bring justice to this land.

“For George Floyd’s Family” is © 2021 and “Strangled by Police: Psalm of Protest 17” is © 2020 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

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Photo Source: Share My Lesson

Strangled by Police: Psalm of Protest 17

Posted on: May 29th, 2020 by Alden No Comments

This Psalm of Protest is in memory of George Floyd, killed by police in Minneapolis. With a knee on his neck, the officer pinned the unarmed and handcuffed Floyd to the ground as he pleaded for help.  This is a prayer against brutality, abuse of power and racism. I’m not anti-police, and have written several prayers for police and first responders. But be clear: no one should die in police custody. And systemic racism must end. Period. See also “For George Floyd’s Family.” Here are all of my Psalms of Protest.

Strangled by Police: Psalm of Protest 17
A psalm of protest,
In memory of George Floyd,
Sung at the gates of justice,
When black men are strangled in the streets,
When power is abused and jails overflow,
When the voiceless are forgotten and minorities misused.
Open, you gates!
Open to the cries of those murdered, jailed or harassed
For being black,
For being a person of color,
For being homeless, indigent, destitute or unwanted,
The detained, the hounded,
The pursued and the persecuted,
Those who are killed while being restrained.
Open, you gates!
Let righteousness flow forth as living waters,
And truth flow forth as healing balm,
To still the hand of violence and hatred,
To cure the heart of bigotry and racism,
To herald fairness and equality,
And bring justice to this land.

© 2020 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

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Postscript: See also: “For George Floyd’s Family,“O Freedom: Psalm of Protest 14,” “A Dream of Columbine: Psalm of Protest 13,” and “Sing with Liberty: Psalm of Protest 15.” All of my Psalms of Protest can be found here.

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and my two CCAR Press books: This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: The New York Times

For Police, Revised

Posted on: April 14th, 2019 by Alden No Comments

nypd-officers-slainI just returned from a six week trip to the U.S., including teaching at many synagogues. Police officers were present at each ont to protect congregants. Here’s a revised version of my prayer “For Police.” This version adds lines of support for families and colleagues of fallen officers. The original prayer was a response to a sniper attack on police in Dallas during a Black Lives Matter protest. This version also omits a politically-charged paragraph that doesn’t fit in a general prayer for police. For more on the impetus behind the original version, see the original post.

For Police
G-d of the selfless,
G-d of the strong and the brave,
Watch over those who dedicate their lives
To serving and protecting others,
Men and women who have answered the call
Of honor, duty and service,
Who risk life and limb to maintain law and order,
Who risk life and limb among the first responders
To natural disasters and man-made terror.
Grant them protection in the pursuit of our safety,
Skill in the pursuit of our well-being
And wisdom in the pursuit of justice.

Bless the souls of those who’ve died in our service.
May their memories be sanctified with joy and love.
Bless their families with consolation and comfort,
And their colleagues with solace and support.
Grant Your healing to all who grieve.

Rock of Truth,
Watch over our communities with love.
Bring an end to crime and violence,
So that all may know
Your compassion and Your grace.

Rock of Ages,
Stronghold and Shelter,
Bless all who serve in the policing professions with Your care.
Bless them fortitude and strength,
Insight and judgment.
In their lives, bless them with joy and health,
Security and well-being.
Let their deeds resound with fairness and integrity,
The calling of their profession,
A source of blessings in our midst.

© 2019 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

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Postscript: See also “For Firefighters.” This prayer is based on two other prayers: “Memorial Prayer for 9/11 First Responders” and “For Nurses.” Here are prayers “Against Gun Violence” and for taking social justice “To the Streets.”

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: Victim Services

Domestic Insurrections

Posted on: August 16th, 2017 by Alden No Comments

In our Declaration of Independence, the Founders describe “the causes which impel them” to separate from the King of England as “a long train of abuses and usurpations.” One of those causes: “He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us.” This line from the Declaration is part of the refrain in this prayer/poem, a response to the stunning moral failure of this president. See also, “We Will Not Yield,” a prayer in response to the violence in Charlottesville.

Domestic Insurrections
There are villains. There are heroes.
Our president should know the difference.
And he has excited domestic insurrections amongst us.

There are terrorists. There are defenders.
Our president should know the difference.
And he has excited domestic insurrections amongst us.

There are rallies that oppress, and rallies that protect.
Our president should know the difference.
And he has excited domestic insurrections amongst us.

There are willful offenders, and steadfast defenders.
Our president should know the difference.
And he has excited domestic insurrections amongst us.

There are words that condone bigots, and words to condemn them.
Our president should know the difference.
And he has excited domestic insurrections amongst us.

There are acts that encourage hate, and acts that discourage hate.
Our president should know the difference.
And he has excited domestic insurrections amongst us.

There are moments that define a leader as immoral,
And moments that define a leader as just.
Our president doesn’t know the difference.
And he has excited domestic insurrections amongst us.

© 2017 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: See also, “We Will Not Yield,” a prayer in response to Charlottesville. Several more of those abuses listed in the Declaration of Independence are eerily-Trumpian. For example:
• He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws…
• He has obstructed the Administration of Justice…
• He has endeavored to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither…
• For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world…

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: Library of Congress

We Will Not Yield

Posted on: August 13th, 2017 by Alden No Comments

Counterprotesters from the Unitarian Universalists congregation link arms during the Unite the Right rally.

After violence from white supremacists left death and injury in Charlottesville, here’s a prayer and a call to action for all who love this nation.

We Will Not Yield
Today,
I am neither Democrat nor Republican,
Neither left nor right nor center.
I am an American,
Born to a legacy of truth and justice,
Born to a legacy of freedom and equality.

Today, I am a patriot
Who will not yield this nation to hate.
Not to neo-Nazis.
Not to thugs self-styled as militia.
Not to slogans or chants.
Not to gestures or flags.
Not to threats and not to violence.

Hate is hate,
Ugly and brutal,
And we will not yield.

Today,
I am Christian, Muslim and Jew,
Catholic, Buddist, Hindu and Sikh,
Atheist and agnostic.
I am Asian, Latino, Hispanic, African American,
White, Native American and multi-racial.
I am an immigrant, a child of the American Revolution,
A veteran and a soldier.
I work in the dark depth of the mines
And the high towers of Wall Street,
In the factories and the farms,
In our hospitals and strip malls.
I am gay, lesbian, straight, bi, trans,
Man, woman and gender-neutral.
I am young, old, blind and deaf,
Hearing and sighted,
Disabled,
Powerful and unafraid.

Truth is truth,
That all are created equal,
And we will not yield.

Today, I am an American,
A citizen of the United States,
A child of this great democracy,
A child of this wise republic,
Dedicated to liberty,
Dedicated to action.

We will not yield.

© 2017 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: This prayer is adapted from “We Will Be Heard,” part of my “Liturgy for Inauguration Day 2017.”

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: Calla Kessler/The Washington Post

For Police

Posted on: July 10th, 2016 by Alden No Comments

nypd-officers-slainThis is a prayer for police officers, a response to Thursday’s sniper attack on police in Dallas during a Black Lives Matter protest. For nearly a year, a prayer “For Police” has been on my list to write. It’s an awkward moment for this prayer. Trust for police is at a low. The nation grieves. We debate two core issues: gun violence and systemic oppression of blacks and other minorities by some in law enforcement. This prayer is in memory of the slain officers and also to honor of a former member of the City of Evanston (Illinois) Police Department, whose heroism saved my daughters and wife Ami z”l from disaster.

For Police
G-d of the selfless,
G-d of the strong and the brave,
Watch over those who dedicate their lives
To serving and protecting others,
Men and women who have answered the call
Of honor, duty and service,
Who risk life and limb to maintain law and order,
Who risk life and limb among the first responders
To natural disasters and man-made terror.
Grant them protection in the pursuit of our safety.
Grant them skill in the pursuit of our well-being.
Grant them wisdom in the pursuit of justice.
Bless the souls of those who’ve died in our service.
May their memories be sanctified with joy and love.

Rock of Truth,
Watch over our communities with love.
Bring an end to crime and violence,
So that all may know
Your compassion and Your grace.

Rock of Ages,
Stronghold and Shelter,
Bless all who serve in the policing professions with Your care.
In their work, bless them fortitude and strength,
Insight and judgment.
In their lives, bless them with joy and health,
Security and well-being.
Let their deeds resound with fairness and integrity,
The calling of their profession,
A source of blessings in our midst.

Rock of Love,
Heal the wounds of our nation.
Heal the grief that tears us apart.
And let us all be blessed with peace.

© 2016 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript:  This prayer is based on two other prayers: “Memorial Prayer for 9/11 First Responders” and “For Nurses.” Here are prayers “Against Gun Violence” and for taking social justice “To the Streets.”

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Photo Source: Victim Services

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