Prayer on Inauguration, by Rabbi Arthur Waskow (the Shalom Center, 2021)

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open_content_license: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) 4.0 International copyleft license

Date: 2021-01-20

Last Updated: 2024-06-01

Categories: Inauguration Day (January 20th)

Tags: 21st century C.E., 58th century A.M., 59th Presidential Inauguration, American Jewry of the United States, English vernacular prayer, United States

Excerpt: A prayer on being present in the moment of the inauguration of the 59th president of the United States. . . .

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If we create the future
in the present,
the One
from the differences
that we can fit together —
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה
יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ
רוּחַ הָעוֹלָם
וְהִגִּיעָֽנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה׃
Barukh attah
YHWH elohenu
ruaḥ ha’olam,
v‘higianu lazman hazeh.
Blessed are you,
breath of life,
creative energy within us and beyond us,
Interbreathing Spirit of the universe,
who has filled us with life,
lifted us up,
and carried us to this moment.

How do we unite
the new President’s call for Unity we heard this noontime[1] Find, President Joe Biden’s Inaugural Address
with the outcry for justice,
for equality,
for truth,
for a healing peace
not only with each other human beings
but also with Earth that sustains all life –
when so many among us doubt or decry
those very values?
Through action.
Through making the future in the present.

As the reality of broadened health care
convinced those who had denounced the law that made it happen
when it still was merely words on paper …

As the presence of a gay or lesbian son or daughter
gentled many a family that had raged against
the blurring of the genders …

As worshipping next to a Jew or a Muslim,
as silently meditating alongside a Hindu or a Buddhist,
had opened the hearts of many
who had thought the Other mere idolators …

As moving their bodies to jazz
or mastering words of spoken Spanish
had shattered centuries of fear or hatred…

So the presence in every neighborhood
of solar and wind co-ops,
shaped by the neighbors down the block
or in the nearest farm-house,
can convince the people who had denounced
the global-scorching science as a hoax.

So playing in real life
the ecological game of jigsaw puzzle
can teach us that the very fact of our differences
can become the facts that make it possible
for us to fit together in a community,
a One.

If we choose,
if we act,
if we enact
the practices and laws
that allow us to fit ourselves together.
If we steadfastly refuse to be enemies
without compromising our hope to be our fullest selves.



1 Find, President Joe Biden’s Inaugural Address.

Contributor: Arthur Waskow


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