One Yah For All!

February 2017

Dear Friends,

As a chaplain I often know the religious preference of the person I’m visiting because it appears on my rounds sheet. When I enter the room I do a spiritual assessment to discover if my patient is practicing the religion which is listed. This is crucial because when I engage in conversation and prayer, I want to do so in language which will resonate for them. This does not mean I abandon my theology and my beliefs. On the contrary, my spiritual address remains intact and is big part of what I bring into the space with me. But it means that I use a prayer vocabulary which will be meaningful and inclusive to my patient and his/her family in the intention of offering healing and hope. I wrote my song “Bring Healing Down” a gospel healing song, for such occasions and I will often invite patients and their families to create their own prayers within that song. It is powerful tool with which I connect with peoples of other faith traditions without compromising my authentic self.

I noticed at the Inauguration ceremony of our President there was l lot of praying going on. The messages were hopeful and well intended. Most of the prayers, which were directed for our government, our leaders, our nation, concluded with the words “In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.” Now don’t get me wrong. I think Jesus was a prophetic figure and a trail blazing rabbi in his own right. A great teacher and leader, he followed his own idea of what was just in his own time which is something I believe we should emulate. However, I do not accept Jesus Christ as my Messiah or my Savior. So when I hear clergy praying on behalf of our country, which includes many people who pray to other names of Yah (God), it deeply concerns and frustrates me that these religious leaders have not considered the beliefs and inclusion of ALL the people of our land.

Step by step, march by march, prayer by prayer we will join together with people who are united by a “Higher Power” in whatever form that takes, using our calling to bring justice, understanding and equality to all the peoples of our land and our world. Through meaningful dialogue, respect and true insight to ‘the other’ we WILL achieve the basic human right of dignity and respect. One Yah for All!



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