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Closing Prayer for New Year’s Day, adapted by Mordecai Kaplan & Eugene Kohn from a prayer by Members of the Faculty of the Colgate Divinity School (1947)


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O Eternal God of ages past and ages yet to come,
Thou who art the everlasting Togetherness, the neverdimming Light, the ever-fulfilling Love,
Whose breath is the Surge of Life, whose pulse is Eternal Creation,
Open Thou the curtains of time for a new year’s unfolding.

Lead us to the threshold of things yet unborn.
Make us malleable to learn, flexible to discern, humble in seeking.
Teach us, O God, to see beneath surfaces,
To look beyond small horizons, to rise above trivialities.

Be as a mighty sieve to sift us, as the blazing searchlight to brighten the way.
From out of solitude weld us into eternal Fellowship.
From out of complacency stir in us divine discontent.
But from out of fear restore in us the peace of humble striving.

Out of sheer dreams bring us enduring visions.
Out of deadly routine point us to pressing purpose.
Out of weakness grant us strength.
Out of indecision bring us guided resolution.
Out of impasse show us direction.

Find us and fathom us;
free us;
fulfill us;
fire our imaginations.
Prepare in us Thy divine anticipation,
that we may lay hold of those priceless treasures
that are so easily missed,
so silently lost.
Chasten us but strengthen us;
Replenish us;
renew us;
Transform us now and never ceasingly,
that Thy will be done.

This “Closing Prayer” for New Year’s Day was adapted by Mordecai Kaplan and Eugene Kohn from a prayer first published by unnamed “Members of the Faculty” of the Colgate-Rochester Divinity School (The Colgate-Rochester Divinity School Bulletin, “Prayers for the New Year,” vol. 19 no. 2 (1947), pp. 65-71). Kaplan & Kohn’s adapted prayer essentially contains excerpts from the prayer of the Faculty (excluding any with explicit Christian content). The adapted prayer was published in The Faith of America: Readings, Songs, and Prayers for the Celebration of American Holidays (Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation 1951), p. 25-26. –Aharon Varady







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