in the joy of a new beginning

January 20th, 2009

Email This Blog Post Email This Blog Post Filed under: New Village Commons— Lynne Elizabeth @ 8:08 pm

Reverend Joseph Lowery

Photo of Reverend Joseph Lowery by Pouya Dianat, staff photographer at the Atlanta Constitution.

It’s been a day of jubilation, and, as many head off to inaugural parties, local celebrations, and some to fancy balls, I want to share my own gratitude for the closing words of today’s presidential swearing-in ceremony—the benediction offered by the Reverend Joseph E. Lowery.

Reverend Lowery is recognized by the NAACP as “dean of the civil rights movement” and has a lifetime of speaking truth to power. His prayer was a fitting blessing for today’s momentous occasion and the inspiration and wisdom the nation needs.

Thank you, Reverend Lowery, for reminding us to “pray for not only our nation, but for the community of nations.” We are indeed a world community, interconnected and interdependent, economically, environmentally, and socially—may we at least respect the heritage of our own citizenry, so very very few of whom come originally from this land. I am still embarrassed by the hubris of this United States and the misbegotten notion that we claim ourselves mightier than others. Let us please extend the vaunted ideal of equality beyond national borders.

Thank you, Reverend Lowery, for asking to “deliver us from the exploitation of the poor, of the least of these, and from favoritism toward the rich, the elite of these.” Our beloved new President has asked us to work with honesty, and here is territory where honesty is especially called for.

Most especially, Reverend Lowery, I thank you for remembering “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.”

These are not just a thoughtful minister’s platitudes and requests to a higher power, but the foundational values that will lead us all to the happiness and prosperity that President Obama entreats us to work for. May we be blessed by taking heed.

Full text of Reverend Lowery’s benediction

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