Prayer for Yom Kippur

Spirit of Life, God of Many Names and one transforming love, remind us of a way forward.

As we mark Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the holiest and most sacred day in the Jewish faith, help us to come to terms with what we must make aright. May we know the corners of our hearts where our families are further apart than we would wish; where our hopes have been lost beneath our fears; where our words have outpaced our hearts.

This Columbus Day weekend, may we remember the lives that have been lost related to European colonization. May this holiday teach us to tread more lightly wherever we walk; to not grab for more than we need; to learn to be hospitable and not voracious.

We remember also this week the start of the 10 year war in Afghanistan that has become this nation’s longest war. Whether it was necessary, or just, or simply the only option we saw, I know not.

May the lives that are lost, the souls that are scarred, and the hopes that never will be realized, someday come to show us a different path forward.

Whether this war be right or wrong, may we learn from it to hesitate whenever our actions decrease the peace. Whenever our thoughts veer toward anger, even over our kitchen sinks or our subway cars or our school playgrounds.

Help our people, and “their” people, to heal our relations; to care for the wounded of body and of mind; to welcome our soldiers back into daily living with their families and friends.

We are learning that war erodes the spirits and minds of those remaining safely at home. Whether we feel righteous indignation, or guilt, or concern for the perpetual cycle of violence – our minds and souls are affected.

Help us to change the things we can change – whether small or seemingly immense; Accept the things we can not change – the losses of lives, the changes to home and abroad; And the wisdom to know the difference – just because things have been like this for so long, does not mean they must continue.

I invite the gathering to lift up a name of someone serving now in the military, or a name of someone we have lost to war or brute power. May our love and our hope encircle them this hour.

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