While visiting a Jewish temple and participating in their Erev Shabbat service, there was a moment of being startled. It was a beautiful, inspirational moment, and it was caused by a prayer. The prayer was:
Disturb us, Adonai, ruffle us from our complacency; Make us dissatisfied. Dissatisfied with the peace of ignorance, the quietude which arises from a shunning of the horror, the defeat, the bitterness and the poverty, physical and spiritual, of humans.
Shock us, Adonai, deny to us the false Shabbat which gives us the delusions of satisfaction amid a world of war and hatred;
Wake us, O God, and shake us from the sweet and sad poignancies rendered by half forgotten melodies and rubric prayers of yesteryears;
Make us know that the border of the sanctuary is not the border of living and the walls of Your temples are not shelters from the winds of truth, justice and reality.
Disturb us, O God, and vex us; let not Your Shabbat be a day of torpor and slumber; let it be a time to be stirred and spurred to action.
Source: World Union Shabbat Evening Service (PDF), page 16.
We get stuck in our status quo. We move through time motionless, disengaged; we participate passively. We become complacent.
This prayer requests Adonai (God) to shake us lose, to wake us up, to ruffle our complacency. What an absolutely wonderful phrase – Ruffle our complacency!
Pray this prayer. Be open. Listen to the spirit inside of you. Be ruffled! Be spurred to action! Power up!
It is easy for this to sound like a cheer, enticing a crowd to join a chant. However, it is not.
It is a call to not accept the way things may be, to recognize things that need to be better, and to do something about it. We need to overcome any complacency or fear we may have and recognize what is happening around us in the world and in our specific community. We need to act to make unacceptable things acceptable.
In other words, we need to use our talents, our gifts, to engage actively in our life and the community around us.
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Ruffle Our Complacency