Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Like millions throughout the country, I sat and watched and marveled at witnessing such an event. I think one of the most moving parts of the journey from November 4th to today has been watching the reactions of older people. So it's no surprise that my favorite part of the inauguration (besides for the Chief Justice flipping the oath) was the benediction by Reverend Joseph Lowery--a founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Beginning with the final and most prayerful verse of the Black National Anthem, Lowery moved on to pray for continued solidarity in the nation, a reduced favoritism of the elite and an ending that spoke to the true beauty of rhetoric in the black church. The transcription is my own, so if there are any errors, please accept my apologies.
God of our weary years
God of our silent tears
Thou who has brought us thus far along the way
Thou who has by thy might led us into the light
Keep us forever in they path we pray
Lest our feet stray from the places our God where we met thee
Lest our hearts drunk with the wine of the world we forget thee
Shadowed beneath thy hands
May we forever stand
True to thee our God and true to our native land
We truly give thanks for the glorious experience we've shared this day. We pray now, oh Lord, for your blessing upon thy servant Barack Obama, the 44th President of these United States, his family and his administration. He has come to this high office at a low moment in the nation and indeed the global fiscal climate.
But because we know you got the whole world in your hands, we pray for not only for our nation but for the community of nations. Our faith does not shrink, though pressed by the flood of mortal ill. For we know that Lord, You're able and You're willing to work through faithful leadership to restore stability, mend our brokenness, heal our wounds, and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor-or the least of these- and from favoritism towards the rich-the elite of these.
We thank you for the empowering of thy servant, our 44th President, to inspire our nation to believe that "Yes We Can" work together to achieve a more perfect union. And while we have sown the seeds of greed-the wind of greed and corruption-and even as we reap the whirlwind of social and economic disruption; we seek forgiveness and we come in a spirit of unity and solidarity to commit our support to our president by our willingness to make sacrifices to respect your creation, to turn to each other and not on each other.
And now Lord, in the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love,not hate; on the side of inclusion, not exclusion; tolerance, not intolerance. And as we leave this mountaintop help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family. Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples , our mosques or wherever we seek Your will.
Bless President Barack , First Lady Michelle. Look over our little angelic Sasha and Malia. We go now to walk together as children, pledging that we wont get weary in the difficult days ahead. We know you will not leave us alone with Your hands of power and Your heart of love.
Help us then now Lord, to work for that day when nation shall not lift up sword against nation. When tanks will be beaten into tractors. When every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid. When justice will roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
Lord in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest. And in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back. When brown can stick around. When yellow will be mellow. When the red man can get ahead man. And when white will embrace what is right.
Let all those who'll do justice and love mercy say Amen. (Amen.) Say Amen. (Amen.) And Amen!