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Oh, America: A Prayer During Times of Violence

Oh, America: A Prayer During Times of Violence

Why can’t we remember what it feels like to wear a yellow star? A number?
Why can’t we imagine what it is like to be black, brown, yellow, poor, or an immigrant in America?
Why can’t we feel the terror of our brother’s mental illness or our sister’s addiction?
Why, oh why, can’t we imagine what it is like to be LGBT in a sea of intolerance?

Oh, America, you are breaking my heart.

What has happened to the America we have loved? Can you tell us?

When did we lose the ability to walk 40 days and 40 nights in another’s shoes?
When, just when, did we lose the ability to see the face of God in others?

America, how can we be fearless when so many march with AK 15s?
America, how can we be fearless when other’s chants down out our own thoughts?
America, how can we be fearless when drug dealers hangout on our street corners and their drugs kill our children?
America, how can we be fearless when our system seems rigged?

America, how can we be fearless when blues kill blacks and blacks kill blues?

Oh, America, you are breaking my heart.
When did our hearts harden, our souls shrivel, and our voices go silent?

Tomorrow shall we awake reborn?

Tomorrow shall we see with insight, with love, with compassion?
Tomorrow shall we have the inspiration and strength to carry our brothers and sisters on our shoulders?
Tomorrow shall we have the inspiration and courage to leave a footprint worth following?

Oh, America, you are breaking my heart.

We beseech you, God, to help us find our way to share the breath of life you gave us so that others can carry on.
We beseech you, our children, to forgive us, to gather the torch, to carry on.

And, we say Amen.

Joe Epstein is a self-described Jewish spiritualist who attends Temple Sinai in Denver, CO, where his wife Susan is a past president. He is a nationally recognized mediator and past vice president of the International Academy of Mediators who has handled more than 4,000 mediations. Joe has been named Colorado's best mediator two of the last five years and has also been named one of the best lawyers in America. He is associated with AB Conflict Resolution Services.

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