Return: A Prayer for Elul

crescent moon rising over the silhouette of a mountain

Return to Elul.
The sky was dark, and the month began.
A special time of starting over;
A month of kindness and clarity;
Of consciousness and knowledge;
Of bravery and strength.
It is said that the truly evil are already condemned
And the truly good are already blessed.
So for the rest of us 
There is Elul.

Return to ourselves.
In Genesis the moon is called, “the lesser light.”
And that’s how I feel tonight,
Less than what I should be.
What was I thinking? 
I was afraid, I was hurt, I was anxious…
No excuses, I know what I did,
Maybe it wasn’t so bad 
But maybe it was.
How can I make it better?
There is Elul.

Return to the people we wronged.
Use the ritual,
Create a context.
It makes it easier to speak:
I am so sorry.
I was wrong.
I lacked compassion in the moment
But I see things clearly now.
You don’t have to accept my apology,
We can do teshuvah together
If you want.
There is Elul.

Return to each other.
In community we pray 
For the kindness to comfort and care;
And the clarity to see what must be done;
For the consciousness to accept the truth;
And the knowledge to get help if needed;
For the bravery to ask for forgiveness;
And the strength to forgive.
Most of all, we pray for all who are in pain or who cause pain.
All this and more because
There is Elul.

Bless the God of Justice, of Mercy and of Redemption that we may return every year,

As old as the darkness, as new as the moon.

Amen

Poem

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