Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Door Revolves

Flowing like a river, the Obama Inauguration ceremony was at once deep and strong. There were shallow moments, as when Rick Warren invoked "Issa, Yeshua, Haysus or Jesus" as the name of his personal redeemer, making his personal witness a part of his public prayer. He then led the audience in The Lord's Prayer. Gotta do something.

And then the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States forgot the words to the oath of office. Perhaps thinking of the import of the oath he was about to deliver, he misplaced the word 'faithfully', moving it to the end of the sentence, where it had special emphasis. Yes, Obama solemnly swore, I am prepared to execute the office of the President faithfully. (Unlike the last one.)

The Chief Justice had the idea of the Constitution in mind, he just forgot the words. This bodes well for our future. We may soon live less by the word and its punctuation and more by our works and what is in our hearts.

Then Obama charged us with the work we have to do, Aretha Franklin sang 'My Country Tis Of Thee' and Dr. Joseph Lowery's recitation of 'Lift Every Voice' in his closing prayer melted the fences between our souls.

I first heard 'Lift Every Voice' in the late summer of '61 at a meeting, I think, of the SCLC in Nashville at a small college there. The attendees were well-dressed and impressive. They knew it by heart and sang it in harmony. For this farm kid from Ohio it was a door opening into a new and wonderful world.

Here is Dr. Lowery's closing prayer.

Let the new and wonderful begin!

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