Monday, January 21, 2013

Inaugurating the Future

Today's inauguration was filled with memorable faces and words--but it all took place behind bulletproof glass.

Myrlie Evers' invocation: "To become whatever our mankind and womankind allows us to be... May all your people, especially the least of these...    great cloud of witnesses" (Hebrews 11).

Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor swearing in Vice President Joe Biden...

James Taylor casually walking up, grabbing a guitar, and singing a verse of "America, the Beautiful."

Obama's swearing in while holding two worn Bibles--one owned by Abraham Lincoln and one owned by Martin Luther King Jr.

President Obama's address: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal... These truths are self-evident, not self-executing...  A decade of war is now ending; an economic recovery is begun... The poor, the sick and marginalized...  Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall... Our individual freedom is inexplicably bound to the freedom of every soul on earth... so that no citizen is forcd to wait three hours or more to exercise our right to vote... Find a better way to welcome immigrants, so that our bright young students and engineers may be enlisted in our work force rather than expelled.   We must not mistake absolutism for principle.  We must act knowing that our work will be imperfect.  We have sworn an oath to God and country, not to party or faction.   May you and I as citizens use our votes and our voice to embrace our lasting birthright and answer the call of history to carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom."

Richard Blanco's stunning inaugural poem: "One sun rose on us today...  / One sky...  / And always one moon / like a silent drum tapping on every rooftop / and every window, of one country--all of us-- / facing the stars / hope--a new constellation / waiting for us to map it / waiting for us to name it--together."

The Reverend Luis Leon's benediction: "What does God require of us but to do justice, love kindness, and always walk humbly with our God?" (Micah 6).

Beyonce singing the national anthem...

Kelly Clarkson singing "My Country 'Tis of Thee."

Archbishop Demetrius of the Greek Orthodox Church of America giving the benediction at the inaugural luncheon: We pray "to the benign parent of the human race... [Help us in] building a more equitable and just society... through your divine and precious love.  Amen."

So much progress... and not the least, the bearded Archbishop praying not to "the Father of mankind... in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen" but instead drawing an image of God that is more inclusive.

Helpful to me was the explanation that an inauguration is like a coronation--pomp, circumstance, hope and a bit less of the political conflict that brought us to a peaceful transition of power.  

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