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By James Vasquez
(Based on the magnificent prayer of
King Solomon when he dedicated the Temple, taken from I Kings 8:22-53)
The temple stood before the throng,
Assembled there around,
Most glorious in its majesty,
On marbled, holy ground.
Its glist'ning columns reaching up,
As if to pierce the sky,
That he who heav'n and earth brought forth,
Might ever more be nigh.
With arms outstretched in prayerful pose,
In honored, royal dress,
Great Solomon his God implored,
To e'er his people bless:
O God who reigns in majesty,
In lustrous heights above,
Who, ever faithful, keeps his oath,
His covenant of love,
O Israel's God none can compare,
Among the gods men know,
In might or wisdom, honor, power,
In heav'n or earth below.
Your promise, Lord, is kept today,
To all your people here,
For David's son now wears the crown,
And rules without a peer.
Your mouth sent forth the word which then,
Your mighty hand fulfilled,
And now your servants have complied,
With all that you have willed.
This temple have I built, O Lord,
A house forever yours,
That in your splendrous essence you,
Might dwell within its doors.
But will, indeed, our God reside,
In structures man has made?
The heav'ns themselves will disappoint,
Though broadly yet arrayed.
But hear, O Lord, your servant's plea,
When toward this house he prays,
And grant him mercy for his sins,
On this and all his days.
And when your people lift their voice,
Wherever they may live,
And toward this house direct their prayer,
Then hear, Lord, and forgive.
For you have said your Name shall be,
Where now this temple stands,
To hear your peoples' prayers as they,
Lift upward holy hands.
And judge between your servants, Lord,
Who by this altar swear,
And let the innocent be known,
The guilty ones declare.
And when your people, carried off,
Afar to foreign lands,
Because with hardened hearts they turned,
Forgetting your commands,
Shall thence in captor's field once more,
Confess your holy Name,
And supplication make to you,
Acknowledging their shame,
Then hear afar as from this place,
And bring them to this land,
Which to their fathers you bequeathed,
With strong, exalted hand.
When heavens hold the rain within,
Each laden, darksome cloud,
For sin among your people has,
A blighting curse allowed,
Then, hearing as they turn again,
Toward this great house of prayer,
Restore to them the rains of yore,
Removing their despair.
And when the land is buffeted,
By famine, plague or drought,
Or armies have assailed our towns,
And ring them all about,
Whatever, Lord, the curse may be,
When Israel turns again,
Then hear, forgive, and bless for you,
Know well the hearts of men.
And deal with each according to,
His deeds, before you plain,
That men may fear you as they ought,
And in the land remain.
The foreigner will hear and come,
Because of your great Name,
And 'fore this temple standing will,
Your mighty works acclaim,
And may his prayer ascend to you,
That all men where he dwells,
May fear your Name as he returns,
And of your glory tells.
Hear now, O Lord, your people's call,
In heaven high above,
For Israel have you singled out,
Mongst nations in your love.
And through your servant Moses you,
With potent, holy hand,
Did make a people for yourself,
And called from Egypt's land.
Now rise, great God, and take your place,
As song and sacred hymn,
Intone your praises o'er the ark,
And wingéd cherubim.
May all your priests forever in,
Salvation's glad attire,
With righteous hearts their offering make,
Their virtue ne'er expire.
And may your people, highly blessed,
For all your goodness known,
Throughout their days rejoice as they,
Your rich provision own.
And in his more exalted days,
And days of failure, too,
Remember your anointed one,
Requiting not his due,
For to his father David you,
The promise did bestow,
That those who o'er his kingdom ruled,
Your love would ever know.
from the December 2002 Edition of the Jewish Magazine
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