Next week, on January 12, 2011, the people of Haiti will mourn the one-year anniversary of the earthquake that claimed as many as 300,000 lives. As the country continues to endure unimaginable loss, and confronts escalating challenges of poverty, disease and violence, let us extend a prayer for the return of comfort, safety and peace. Merciful God, a year ago we cried out to you for our brothers and sisters in Haiti, when thousands of their homes became their graves.1 Today, we remember those who were lost, may their names and memories be a blessing. God who watches over the widow and the orphan,2 watch over the mourners of Haiti, that they may find comfort and peace. God who binds up the wounds of the broken hearted,3 heal those who were injured. God who shelters us in peace,4 return those who were displaced to their homes. Rock of Israel, strengthen the hands of the people of Haiti and those who work alongside them. Be with them so that they will not fear as they walk forward from the valley of the shadow of death;5 give them courage as they rebuild their homes and communities. Help them to build a nation of prosperity and stability, fulfilling the vision of your prophet; “They will rebuild ruined cities and inhabit them; they will plant vineyards and drink their wine, they will till gardens and eat their fruits.”6 Help us, the members of this holy congregation,7 to keep our brothers and sisters in Haiti in our prayers and actions through the passing of time, along with all those who need our support. And let us say, Amen. 1 From the traditional Yom Kippur liturgy. 2 Psalms 146:9. 3 Psalms 147:3. 4 From the traditional evening liturgy. 5 Psalms 23:4. 6 Amos 9:14. 7 Shabbat morning liturgy.
Suggested Discussion Questions:
How do we commemorate tragedy? What is the role of prayer?
Time Period: Contemporary (The Yom Kippur War until the present-day)