PRAYERS DELIVERED AT THE UNITED STATES SENATE, 2003 (8 PRAYERS)

 

PRAYER FOR THE SENATE

Monday, January 22, 2003

Rabbi Arnold E. Resnicoff

GUEST CHAPLAIN

 

                                   

O God, who made a world of change, you challenged us to change the world.  You gave us dreams of better times, and the power to pursue those dreams: to do our part to make a difference, and help those dreams come true.  This week we set aside a day to recall that there are those who seek to kill the dreamers, and thereby kill the dreams. But we will remember dreamers, and through our work – through the courage and determination of Americans of all faiths and colors – we will embrace the dreams that make our nation strong: that make us a force for hope and freedom throughout the world. 

 

Almighty God, at a time when others say, around the world, that all is hopeless, that things will never change, we roll up our sleeves as this session now begins, and remind ourselves that how we act does matter, and what we do does count.  Through our leaders here, through Americans from sea to shining sea –and of course, through those in our nation's forces whose faith and courage must sustain them in harm's way--we will keep the dreams alive: to build a land where liberty will be proclaimed, where justice rolls like mighty waters, where all shall live in freedom – and, one day, where none shall be afraid. 

 

And may we say, Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                   PRAYER FOR THE SENATE

Monday, April 28, 2003

Rabbi Arnold E. Resnicoff

GUEST CHAPLAIN

 

Oh God who said, "Let there be light," we pray our faith—and faiths--in different ways, with different prayers and customs, but with shared hopes and dreams of  better times—can help us see that light, despite the darkness that sometimes obscures our view.

 

Almighty God, I remember twenty years ago, in a foxhole in Beirut: I looked around at others in the bunker, and had a simple thought.  "We Americans," I said, "must have the only "interfaith foxholes" in the whole Mid-East."  And then I thought, that if more foxholes had room for those of different faiths, perhaps we'd need less room for foxholes—and have more room for faith.

 

And so, we pray that we be touched, inspired, by the dreams of faiths that make our nation rich; and that we work with all who share the dream of freedom—and freedom's holy light. Let us see the danger is not that sometimes faiths see God—see You—in different ways, but that there are those in every faith who see themselves as gods.  Let us keep faith, but let faith keep us, as well, in its embrace. May faith keep us humble, so that we know our limits, even as we learn our strength.  Then the time will come when even interfaith foxholes will no longer be required, and we learn war no more.

 

And may we say, Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRAYER FOR THE SENATE

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Rabbi Arnold E. Resnicoff

GUEST CHAPLAIN

 

Almighty God, this week we remember nightmares, to reaffirm our dreams.  On this Holocaust Remembrance Day—during this week we've set aside—our nation recalls victims of the Holocaust: a Holocaust brave Americans took up arms to fight, and many gave their lives to end.  And, so, before this session starts, and during a time when our brave men and women still risk their lives for better times, we pray the day will come when  the lesson of this horror—the lessons of all nightmares—help make our dreams of peace come true.

 

From the Holocaust we learn: when human beings deny humanity in others, they destroy humanity within themselves.  When they reject the human in a neighbor's soul, then they unleash the beast, and the barbaric, in their own hearts. 

 

And so, remembering, we pray: if the time has not yet dawned when we can all proclaim our faith in God, then let us say at least that we admit we are not gods ourselves.  If we cannot yet see the face of God in others, then let us see, at least, a face as human as our own.

 

You taught us through the Bible that life might be a blessing or a curse: the choice is in our hands.  So many people, so many peoples, have felt the curse of life too filled with cruelty, and violence, and hate.  As Americans we pray–we vow–to keep alive the dream of better times; to keep our faith that we can be, will be, a force for good; a force for hope; a force for freedom; a blessing, not a curse–to all our people; to all the world.

 

And may we say, Amen.

 

 

 

PRAYER FOR THE SENATE

Friday, May 2, 2003

Rabbi Arnold E. Resnicoff

GUEST CHAPLAIN

 

O Lord who gives to everything a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: a time for war; a time for peace; a time for life; a time for death; and always time for hope.  We take time now, as this week starts, and as—we pray—the fighting in Iraq nears its end, to honor those who serve, who fight, who sacrifice in times of war, so that the time of peace—of real peace—might be.

 

We take time now to offer thanks: for freedoms that are far from free, for they are bought and paid for at the cost of lives cut short, and family dreams that now can never be; and at the cost of lives that will be touched and haunted by memories so painful that most of us give thanks that we will never know, nor ever fully comprehend.

 

Lord, who gives to everything a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven, we honor those who gave their lives; and we honor those who still live and serve, within a world that knows too well the time of war.  And we honor in a special way their families, those they love and who love them, for whom the battlefields seem much more close to home.

 

Give us the faith, the strength, the wisdom, too, to do our part to bring about the time of peace for which they fought—and fight; the time of peace for which we pray; the time of peace, just peace, in which we must keep faith; the world of peace which we must do our part to build.

 

And let us say, Amen.

 

 

PRAYER FOR THE SENATE

Monday, May 19, 2003

Rabbi Arnold E. Resnicoff

GUEST CHAPLAIN

 

O Lord who hears our prayers, as this session now begins, and before the leaders here debate the issues they confront, and with which our country and our people struggle, we begin united, united with a prayer: a reminder that, even as we disagree on one course of action or the next, we do so in pursuit of common dreams—liberty, dignity, and freedom—dreams that unite us all.

 

We sometimes call this starting prayer an invocation, but it is not your presence we invoke, for you are always with us, no matter where we are or where we go—as we soar on eagles wings toward heaven; as we search the deepest reaches of the sea; or as we seek to balance responsibility and right through the actions taken here in the halls of congress; we know we find your hand.

 

Instead, it is awareness of your presence that we call forth, that we invoke: a reminder of a plan or dream in which we might play a part; a promise of a better world, a better time, a time of peace and justice, that we might help to build.  May your presence touch our lives and help shape our words so that we might find the wisdom and the courage to do our part to keep those dreams alive, and help make those dreams come true.

 

And may we say, Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRAYER FOR THE SENATE

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Rabbi Arnold E. Resnicoff

GUEST CHAPLAIN

 

O Lord who taught us all to love our neighbors as ourselves, we pause now, before this Senate session starts, to recall that on this day – in 1881 – and in this city – Washington, DC – Clara Barton and a group of friends founded the American Red Cross.

 

To love our neighbor as ourselves...and then, to not sit idly by that neighbor's blood – the suffering that he or she endures – without doing what we can to ease the burden and the pain, has been the call to which so many Red Cross workers have responded since that day, throughout our land; and reaching out to those who serve in our armed forces overseas—throughout the world, as well. 

 

Almighty God, we give our thanks for those who give their all: who do their best to comfort those in pain. 

But we pray as well to be inspired by their work: to understand we all can make a difference in our neighbors' lives, a difference in our nation's strength, a difference in our world.  Help us help one another do our part to build the world of peace, the time of joy, for which we pray.

 

And may we say, Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRAYER FOR THE SENATE

Friday, June 13, 2003

Rabbi Arnold E. Resnicoff

Guest Chaplain

 

O God who made the rainbows in the sky, you made our land a rainbow, too: from purple mountain majesties

to amber waves of grain, we marvel at the colors of our nation, and the beauty of our land.

 

Today, this week, and tomorrow in a special way–Flag Week, and June 14, Flag Day–we set aside some time to honor special colors: the colors of our flag. We celebrate the values our flag in all its colors and its glory represents, and the memories and dreams our Stars and Stripes–our Star-Spangled Banner–still invokes.    "The grand old flag," as the old song goes, is still "the emblem of the land I love"—we love–"the home of the free and the brave."

 

In a moment we will pledge our allegiance to the flag—

and to the Republic for which it stands.  As we take that pledge today, let us make that pledge a prayer.  Let us pray that the colors of our flag, and the true colors of our nation and our people–our dedication to the cause of liberty and justice for all; our courage and determination even in the face of adversity; and our faith–are forever represented by our flag.  May it bring hope of better times to all the citizens of our land, and all the nations of our world.  May it forever wave, o'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

 

And may we say, Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRAYER FOR THE SENATE

Monday, June 16, 2003

Rabbi Arnold E. Resnicoff

Guest Chaplain

 

Almighty God of freedom, who gave us the promise and the dream of liberty to be proclaimed throughout the land, we pause before this session to recall words spoken by a Senate nominee–Abe Lincoln–on this day, June 16, in 1858. "A nation divided against itself cannot stand," he said, and we "cannot endure half slave, half free." 

 

O Lord our God and God of generations past, we offer thanks for all the progress we have made since that historic speech, even as we recognize we still have more to do.  Slavery, the institution, is no more.  But let us unite in our resolve that none should be enslaved by prejudice or hatred that threatens the humanity and dignity we've fought to recognize and guarantee; that none, victimized by ignorance or discrimination, live lives half slave, half free.

 

Grant us and all our leaders, the wisdom to debate and disagree, with civility and respect, the issues of the day. But give us, we pray, the wisdom and the faith we need to safeguard a nation united, not divided—indivisible, as we pledge—in our pursuit of liberty and justice for us all.

 

And may we say, Amen.