Pastor Tim Phillips and Rabbi Olivier BenHaim share these prayers for Holocaust Remembrance Day.
From Pastor Tim:
Eternal One, on this most solemn of occasions, we open our hearts, minds, and souls to you. As we remember the six million, the eleven million, the indifference, and the evil; as we honor the heroes, the martyrs, the survivors, and the victims; we ask you to
soothe our souls,
amplify our memories,
strengthen our resolve,
and hear our prayers.
We ask for your presence among us; for healing, light, and love, as we commemorate the horrors that were committed not long ago.
Please, oh Holy One, be gentle with our souls.
We ask that you help us to forever remember the stories we hear. As we re-encounter the unthinkable, we ask that these memories be strengthened and never fade, in the hope that those who remember the mistakes of the past will not repeat them.
Please, oh Holy One, amplify our ability to remember.
We ask that you strengthen our will, so that, when we say ...
... we are dedicating ourselves to the idea that justice does not allow persecution, that genocide shall not be repeated, and that vigilance is the responsibility of freedom, at all costs.
Please, oh Holy One, make manifest our resolve that these horrors remain but memories.
We ask that you answer our prayers. We pray that the call of evil falls on deaf ears, that those who fight for freedom and justice always prevail, that those who need protection do not become victims. We pray that the lessons we learn from this darkest hour allow all humankind to better itself, and to truly and nobly embody the idea that we are each made in Your image. We pray for the souls of the millions and millions of victims of this brutality; we pray that we honor their lives and their memories by observing this day, and by doing everything in our power and beyond to make sure that no such shadow again darkens our world. Above all, we pray for shalom--for wholeness and peace--to be in our midst, now and forever.
Please, oh Holy One, answer our prayers and bring us a world devoid of hatred, filled instead with peace.
May this be God's will. And, together we say …
From Rabbi Olivier:
May the Source of Life, the Fountain of all Being, open our hearts to compassion and our eyes to wisdom, that we might glimpse with perfect peace the way of all things. May our sadness and our grief awaken us to the preciousness of the Life we share. May the memory of those who have died be for the world a blessing, and may we never let the light of their life and the light of their love grow dim in our hearts.
May all their worthy deeds, even all their human struggles, be remembered now with love, that their memory be forever bound up in the bond of Life. God is our Source and our Destination, our beginning and our end. May the deaths that have been awaken us to this truth, that the bonds of love shared be not severed in sorrow. May all be held in Healing. May all be held in Peace. And let us say: Amen.
The original version of Pastor Tim's prayer was shared at the Yorktown Naval Weapons Station's 2014 Holocaust Remembrance Service by Rabbi David Katz. It has been adapted for a Holocaust Remembrance gathering with Seattle First Baptist and Bet Alef Meditative Synagogue on Wednesday, April 15, 2015.
Rabbi Olivier's prayer was based on the Deconstructionist Rabbi's Manual.
This blog includes thoughts from various contributors at Seattle First Baptist