I had the privilege of attending my cousin Kerrianne’s Bat Mitzvah a couple days ago.
As someone who was raised in a fundamentalist Christian church and is no longer religious, it was refreshing to see a congregation where intellectual curiosity and meekness are staples. The temple is a part of Reformed Judaism. This “denomination” is accepting of all views and backgrounds. Science is completely accepted and gays and lesbians are even welcome and affirmed. As the world changes and progresses, members of Reformed Judaism grow, adapt and accept it rather than cower back in fear and hate. I’m not saying that I’m a full-fledged member of Reformed Judaism. Rather, I find it to be a beautiful, adaptive religion, one set on improving the human condition through understanding.
As Kerrianne was leading us in recited prayers, one stood out to me…
For the expanding grandeur of Creation, worlds known and unknown, galaxies beyond galaxies, filling us with awe and challenging our imaginations, We give thanks this day.
For this fragile planet earth, its times and tides, its sunsets and seasons, We give thanks this day.
For the joy of human life, its wonders and surprises, its hopes and achievements, We give thanks this day.
For human community, our common past and future hope, our oneness transcending all separation, our capacity to work for peace and justice in the midst of hostility and oppression, We give thanks this day.
For high hopes and noble causes, for faith without fanaticism, for understanding of views not shared, We give thanks this day.
For all who have labored and suffered for a fairer world, who have lived so that others might live in dignity and freedom, We give thanks this day.
For human liberties and sacred rites: for opportunities to change and grow, to affirm and choose, We give thanks this day.
We pray that we may live not by our fears but by our hopes, not by our words but by our deeds.
If only the world’s major religions were this open and affirming…