We Are Standing

We are standing

From Nitzavim
On ML King jr. Day
For Jews United for Justice

Moses gathered them before the Holy One
on the day of Moshe’s death
to bring them into the covenant. — Rashi

We are standing today
all of us
the big shots
the chumps
the children
wives and sweethearts,
and the stranger
that is within
all of us,
before Hashem
the Name
— God
from the hewers of wood
to the carriers of water,
all of us
every busy one of us,

To cut a deal
with You
so that You will remember the deal
You cut with our ancestors,
good people
covenant cutters.

But not for us alone
do You keep this agreement
not for us who are here today
but for those of us
who are not here today:
Your children
who shall rise up after you
and strangers

For this deal that I set before you
this day
you know which one I mean
it is not too far from you
that you should say:
Who shall go for us.

Nor is it too hard for you
that you should say:
Who will do this for us.
It is not in heaven
and it is not hidden
it is not distant
but right here
under your nose,
it is in your mouth
and in your heart.

It is sitting next to you on the bench
waiting with you for the bus.
It is standing on the corner
in front of the coffee house
waiting for the light to change.
that you should do it.

look see
I have placed before you
the life and the good
and the death and the evil.

So love Hashem
walk like God
do the right things
the simple things and the complex things
figure out what you can for yourself
and be wise together
then you will multiply
and God will grow you
and bless you.

But if you don’t listen
and fly away,
I tell you
I surely tell you
I know that you will be lost
and your days will not be lengthened
on the land.

So I call heaven and earth together
to witness for you and against you
I have placed life and death before you
blessing and curse.
Choose life
choose blessing
love God
glue yourself to God
for God is your life
and the length of your days.

God promised your ancestors.
God promised them
I swear.

james stone goodman
united states of america