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NOTE: This Interfaith Litany of Prayer & Reflection has been in use in American faith communities for more than a decade. A version of it first appeared in a 2003 toolkit for the national event “Cover the Uninsured Week.” This version was adapted by Rev. Linda Hanna Walling for Faithful Reform in Healthcare. This litany is ideal for use in an interfaith worship service or vigil…but it would also be great for a Sunday school class or other small group!

Unison Prayer: Eternal God, we praise you for giving us life and calling us into community to care for each other.  We acknowledge that we have failed to care for every member of our human family, and have not ensured that all may receive the health care they need for the life that you intend.  Forgive us for hearts that have been slow to feel another’s pain, for hands that have been still when caring touch was needed, and for voices that have remained silent while millions suffer for lack of health care.

Reflection on Jewish Perspectives on Responding to the Uninsured

Teachings from Jewish scripture – Leviticus 19:  “Do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor.”  Judaism advances two core values underlying an abiding commitment to provide health care to all of God’s children. The first is that an individual human life is of infinite value; the second is that we are endowed with wisdom and strength to be God’s partners in repairing the world.  Just as the Talmud teaches that a physician is obligated to heal and that a patient is obligated to obtain health care, so too are we taught that the whole of society is responsible for ensuring that every individual has access to health care.

Prayer from the Jewish Tradition (to be offered by a Jewish leader)

Unison Response:  Strengthen us to use our hearts and hands, voices and vision to help ensure that all persons have the health care they need.

Reflection on Christian Perspectives on Responding to the Uninsured

Teachings from Christian Scripture – Mark 2:3:  “Then some people came, bringing to him [Jesus] a paralytic, carried by four of them…  He said to the paralytic I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.”    Christian scripture frequently lifts up the importance that healing had in the life and ministry of Jesus.  Emphasis is placed not only on Jesus as a healer, but also on the role of believers in seeking healing and wholeness of their neighbors.

Prayer from the Christian Tradition (to be offer by a Christian leader)

Unison Response:  Strengthen us to use our hearts and hands, voices and vision to help ensure that all persons have the health care they need.

Reflection on Islamic Perspectives on Responding to the Uninsured

Ayahs from the Holy Qur’an.  “A person whose passions respond only to his or her personal needs, and who is only concerned with his or her own personal and familial life, has long abandoned the true purpose of life…” (15:3). True Muslims are compassionate human beings, whose passions are aligned with divine purpose of life, and whose actions, therefore, are guided by the principles of revelation.  To be a true Muslim is to be active not passive, to get involved in society and not to withdraw from it.

Prayer from the Islamic Tradition (to be offered by a Muslim leader)

Unison Response:  Strengthen us to use our hearts and hands, voices and vision to help ensure that all persons have the health care they need.

Silent Meditation

Unison Response:  For the blessing of life, we give you thanks.  For the comfort you provide for all who experience illness and loss, we give you thanks. And for the call to care and the will to do it, we give you thanks.  Amen.