I was invited to give the invocation at Cobb County Community Relations Council's "Creating Community Awards Dinner" on Thursday, March 21. I considered this to be an immense honor for a variety of reasons: 1) I have always tried to live my life by treating all people with the same love and respect I would expect,
2) The most important aspect of my rabbinate is my commitment to social justice,
3) I am still pretty new to the community.
However, there was one more reason. Henry Hene, one of Temple Kol Emeth's Senior Vice Presidents, was in attendance. Henry, Chairman of the Board of the Interfaith Habitat for Humanity Coalition in Cobb County, along with many other members of the Board of the Interfaith Habitat for Humanity Coalition, were nominees for one of the Cobb County Community Awards. Not only have I been blessed to participate with this group, I was even more honored and excited when they were awarded the award for District 2. Henry, along with everyone else who has been involved with this group, has really gone out of his way to devote his life to seeking understanding and peace among all people.
Whenever I am asked to give an invocation or a benediction, I think about how I might inspire those who have already inspired me in so many ways. Truthfully, at least in my opinion, being a rabbi in a community comes with so many honors and blessings (not the least of which is being able to meet and befriend so many people). For this blog, I decided to include the invocation I gave. May it inspire you as I have been inspired by the acts and words of so many others!
Invocation – Creating Community Awards Dinner
Cobb County Relations Council
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Beloved God, tonight, like many nights, is a night to count our blessings. Tonight we come together to recognize and thank those individuals in our community who have gone above and beyond in promoting a community of peace and friendship. While we congratulate these individuals and thank them for their good deeds, we are also mindful of those in our community who are still in need, recognizing we still have much to do.
In a world in which there exists so much hatred, so much pain, we often forget to think about all of the greatness also present in our world. Here in Cobb County, we are able to celebrate the hard working men and women who work to promote a sense of real inclusion. It is these positive relationships among our different groups that bring us together this evening.
One of the most energizing facets of our community is the many opportunities present for people to join together, to pray, to learn together, and so many other ways. It is in those moments that the differences between our groups are blurred. Those moments of communal togetherness can help to bring clarity and comfort to even the most confused or hurting. As we pray together this evening, let us take some time to really listen to the sounds of those around us, satisfying our own needs while fulfilling our obligations to God and to our community.
As we break bread together this evening, I ask God to continue to bless us with good health, friendship, love and blessings.
I end this evening with a verse from Proverbs:
Proverbs 21:21 - He that follows after righteousness and mercy finds life, righteousness, and honor.