[I delivered this on Friday, August 29 with the wonderful people of the Transfaith Conference here in Charlotte, NC]
אֱלֹהַי, נְשָׁמָה שֶׁנָּתַתָּ בִּי טְהוֹרָה הִיא
My God, the soul you have given me is pure.
As we look out upon this day, among these beautiful people around us, let us acknowledge the shining purity and beauty of the spirits we find around us this morning.
Let us revel in the light that we bring to each other and share with one another.
In Jewish traditions we begin our mornings in gratitude - first for our bodies, may they work well enough so that we can offer praise and thanks. Then we notice that our spirits still reside within us, and that that essence is pure, and we celebrate the return of our souls into our bodies after that absent time during our slumbers.
Each morning we look out upon the world and offer up gratitude because a day that begins with gratitude is a better day. A day that we transform with words of thanks in turn transforms us into grateful people.
I am so grateful to be among all of you today.
So I offer you another blessing from the opening prayers of a Jewish morning service:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁעָשַׂנִי בְּצֶלֶם אֱלֹהִים
Praised are You, the Infinite source of a miraculous creation, who made me, and all of us, in the divine image.
Each and every one of us here today reflects another gorgeous facet of the image of the divine. To be in the image of the infinite is to be infinitely varied.
Let us begin our day in praise of the purity of our inner spirits, and in awe of the beautiful variety of our outward appearances.
Let our time together be filled with soulful beauty, and pure diversity, and let us say: Amein.