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Earth Amidah

In Jewish tradition, the Amidah prayer is a series of blessings recited three times a day. Each blessing has a theme. I wrote the following interpretive version of the Amidah to articulate the prayers that had been in my mind for years while chanting the traditional Hebrew.

Blessed are you God, our God and God of our ancestors, those who walked the Earth before us, who evolved through your wisdom to walk, and use tools, grow food and build homes.   You have been there for our ancestors as they traveled over the land, coming across oceans and mountains, from home to home. You have given us children and let us walk on this earth for generations.   Blessed are you God, helper of our ancestors.

You are so powerful, force of Life. You turn the great wheel of life and death.   You cause the leaves to fall, to turn to fertile soil, and into trees and leaves again; your mountains tumble to the sea and rise again inch by inch over millennia; your forests grown and burn, grow and are cut down, and grow again; families expand and shrink and grow again - truly, you resurrect that which is dead, and turn it again into what is living.   Blessed are you God, bringer of life from death.

Go into traditional Hebrew, picking up the English at לדר ודר:

Each generation has felt the wonder of being alive.   Forever and ever we have risen to respond to inconceivable surprise of living in your Presence.   Blessed are you God, Holiness of the world.

God, you gave us what we need to live well on your Earth.   Please help us make wise choices and help us to be aware of how our choices impact your world.   Blessed are you God, who grants awareness.

God, we have so totally screwed things up over here.   We have plundered and pillaged your Creation, we have acted with greed and from fear.   Bring us back into right relationship with this planet and with the systems we depend on for life.   Blessed are you God, who desires a return to balance.

Forgive us, God, for all we have done.   Forgive us. For clear-cutting your forests, for enslaving your animals, for causing rapid change in your planet's climate, for pouring toxins into your water, ground, and air, for causing species and habitat loss.   Blessed are you God, who forgives what cannot be forgiven.

Redeem us, God, from the oppression we cause and from the oppression we suffer.   Help us come together as a human people to rise to the crises we face.   Bring us full and complete redemption from this mess.   Blessed are you God, who redeems impossible situations.

Heal us, God, from all illness and especially today we pray for the illnesses caused by toxins and environmental imbalance.   Heal us from cancers and obesity, from asthma and diabetes, from our addictions to substances, stuff and technology.   Help us come into balance in body, mind, and spirit. Blessed are you God, who heals the afflicted.

Bless our food in its seasons, God.   Bless our food systems with diversity of crops, with balanced ecosystems, with sustainable transportation, with healthy growing methods.   Bless all farmers and who provide food for the world, and help their livelihoods depend not on big corporations, government subsidies, or toxic chemicals, but on local communities, smart policies, and the incredible systems of soil, water, and sunlight that you designed.   Blessed are you God, who blesses the seasons.

Call us home, God, to your earth.   Gather us in from the exile of a life spent indoors not knowing the cycles of seasons or the moon.   Bring us close with love to our bioregion, our watershed, the wildlife we live with.   End our spiritual exile from land, and end the physical exile of indigenous peoples from their homelands.   Blessed are you God, who gathers home the exiled.

Bestow justice, God, in this crisis.   Let the courts decide on the side of the children, the earth, animals, and indigenous peoples - and in their flourishing let us all flourish. Let laws be passed that pass power into the hands of people who act out of love for their children and their homes.   Let the population responsible for destruction be the first to bare the costs and offer solutions.   Blessed are you God, lover of justice.

And on the forces of destruction, let the light of hope shine.   May greed, fear, and envy, corruption, violence, despair, apathy and depression be transformed into forces of healing and good.   May all the true enemies of Life's balance be swiftly and compassionately destroyed.   Blessed are you God, force of destruction and transformation.

And on the prophets of our generation who have called attention to the environmental crisis - on the activists, writers, farmers, artists, lawyers, parents, tribes, youth, organizers, politicians and visionaries who are acting for healing and balance - bestow loving-kindness, strength, compassion, courage, and reward for their work.   Put our lot with them, that we may not be ashamed.   Blessed are you, who supports and protects the righteous.

And to your City of Jerusalem and to all cities please God return with compassion.   May centers of human population be places of justice, love, mercy, human rights, open green spaces and urban farms, clean air and good water and food, healthy buildings, healthy animals, families and neighborhoods.   May healthy human civilization be established quickly and be sustained.   Blessed are you God, builder of beautiful cities.

And may your beloved sprout of redemption grow in us now! May we each plant seeds every day of the world we wish to live in, for we long for that world all day, every day.   Blessed are you God, gardener of a better world.

Hear our voices God!   We mean it! Have mercy on us, your creatures, living in such tenuous times.   Receive this chutzpadik prayer with compassion and ease, for you are the force behind it all, the Presence we somehow know we can call out to.   Blessed are you God, hearer of chutzpadik prayers.

Accept our work in the world, God, as a sacred offering to you.   May the the stuff of our days - our work, our learning, our interactions, our activism, our meetings, our prayers, our music, and the work of our hands be acceptable to you, for we lovingly bring our most prized possession - our time   and our love - as offerings before you to help heal this world. Blessed are you God, who is present through our good deeds.

We thank you God, for the miracle of life on this planet, for every moment of our own lives, and for the wonders of your creation of which we are a part.   Blessed are you God, receiver of gratitude.

Please send peace over us and all creation.   We pray for a day when balance is restored, when the climate changes only as fast as life can adjust, when the systems that support robust and diverse life are all working well together, and humanity is a blessing on this earth.   In the meantime, God, we ask for resiliency and adaptation to the changes, for us and for all species and ecosystems. Blessed are you, God, who bestows peace.



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