As every living thing bends toward the light, we turn to you, sending forth our praise as you open the gates of heaven, renewing your work of creation with faithfulness and love.
Nothing is untouched by your presence: from the luminaries on high to the sand beneath our feet – no boundary can contain your radiance, no border can hold back your light; it shines upon us all, every ray an angel singing out from the heavens: the whole earth is filled with your glory!
So let a new light shine upon us – may it illuminate every corner of creation, that every land may be a Zion, that all may be worthy to bask in the warmth of its glow.
Blessed are you, forever recreating our world with such exquisite radiance.
You love us with a wild and boundless love and care for us with unending, unconditional compassion. You show us your ways so tenderly, guiding us just as you guided countless generations before us. Teach us with a passion that will resonate deep in our hearts, inspire us to see and hear and learn and teach and act with love now and always.
Open our hearts as one to your light and keep us far from confusion and shame. May it lead us toward your justice, toward liberation for all who dwell on earth; that all who are exiled and dispossessed may safely find their way home that all may rejoice in you and celebrate your holy name as one.
Blessed are you, who loves us all with a fierce love that knows no bounds.
Following the service at Chicago’s Thompson Center, protesters carried a symbolic casket in a silent march in honor of the deceased. At City Hall, representatives from the Homeless Union presented a petition demanding immediate housing and adequate mental and physical health care for all homeless persons in the Chicago and Cook County.
This new liturgy is based on the traditional Jewish memorial prayer, El Male Rachamim:.
El male rachamim shochen bam’romim ha’metzei menucha nechonah tachat kanfei ha’shechinah.
God filled with compassion, whose loving presence ever surrounds us bring perfect rest to all who have died unhoused those who have died on the streets, in tent cities public parks and under viaducts.
Protect these precious souls with the shelter they were denied in their lifetimes gather them under the softness of your wings show them love, bring them home.
Remind us that no one is forgotten in your sight that all are welcome at your table that each and every one of their lives is a story of sacred worth and meaning that can never be lost.
May the memories of their lives shine forth like the brilliance of the skies above as we rededicate ourselves to their memories now.
Turn our grief and anger into resolve fill us with strength and will and purpose that we may once and for all end this endless night.
Never let us forget our sacred responsibility to ensure that all are housed and clothed and fed; let us never stop fighting for the basic essential dignity of every living, breathing soul.
I offered this prayer on Thanksgiving at the picket line for striking nursing home workers who work for Infinity Health Care Management. Over seven hundred frontline, majority black and brown workers from the Greater Chicago area called for a strike on November 23 after months of bargaining in which management repeatedly ignored their calls for pandemic pay, proper PPE, adequate staffing and living wages.
Click here to learn how you can lend your support to these courageous workers, whose struggle is literally a struggle for their very lives.
May the One who blessed our ancestors, bless all those who put themselves at risk to care for the elderly, ill and infirm.
Bless the health care workers, the nurses and orderlies, bless those who navigate the unfolding dangers of the world each day to tend to those they have sworn to help.
Bless them as they go to their work, bless them in their coming home. Ease their fear. Sustain them. Source of all breath, healer of all beings: protect them and restore their hope. Strengthen them, that they may bring strength; keep them in health, that they may bring healing.
And bless them in their struggle, in their just demand for fair wages, as they are forced to work without pandemic pay in the midst of a pandemic, even as they put their lives on the line every day to take care of our most vulnerable family members.
Strengthen their resolve, and strengthen ours as we stand with them in their fight for just wages, which is a fight for their very lives. Help them know again a time when they can breathe without fear.
May this plague pass from among us, speedily and in our days.
To the One who urges us on toward struggle and transformation: never stop reminding us just what is at stake and what is expected of us in the days and months ahead.
May our vote remind us of our power to stand down those who govern with fear and dread; may it fill us with the vision and purpose to build a power yet greater: a power rooted in solidarity, liberation and love.
May our vote give us the courage to know that a just society is not beyond our grasp; that we have the power to dismantle systems of inequity and greed; that we create a world in which our wealth and resources are dedicated toward the well-being of all.
May our vote make way for a world free of racism and militarization, a world where no one profits off the misery of others, a world where the bills owed those who have been colonized, enslaved and dispossessed are finally paid in full.
May our vote remind us that the struggle is never over; and that when election day is done no matter what the outcome, we must never give up the fight for the world we know is possible, right here, right now, in our own day.
May we never doubt our ability to make a difference, that we may transform your world toward a future of equity, of restoration, of justice, for us, and for all who dwell on earth.
To the One who demands justice:
inspire us to become rodfei tzedek,
pursuers of justice
in our lives and in our communities.
Give us the strength to resist power
wielded with fear and dread;
fill us with the vision and purpose
to build a power yet greater,
a power rooted in solidarity,
liberation and love.
Grant us the courage to dismantle
systems of oppression –
and when they are no more,
let us dedicate our wealth and resources
toward the well-being of all.
May we abolish all forms of state violence
that we might make way for a world
free of racism and militarization,
a world where no one profits
off the misery of others,
a world where the bills owed those who have been
colonized, enslaved and dispossessed
are finally paid in full.
Inspire us with the knowledge
that real justice is indeed at hand,
that we may realize
the world we know is possible,
right here, right now,
in our own day.
May our thoughts and our hopes,
our words and our deeds
guide us toward a future of reparation,
of restoration, of justice, al kol yoshvei teivel
for all who dwell on earth,