Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The politics of hope

Still thinking about yesterday's inaugural, figuring out why this election cycle's version of that brief ceremony seemed the most siginificant of my time.

Part of the reason is obvious considering who and what I am --- the amazing, and first, acknowledgement by a sitting president of the place as fully enfranchised players that gay people must and will have in the future of America.

But I was almost as moved by the call for generous and positive immigration reform, moving toward a policy and procedures that acknowledge the place in our future of Latino-Americans. If you listened carefully, there were symbols of that woven into the ceremony: The subtle Spanish inflection in Cuban-American inaugural poet Richard Blanco's voice as he spoke the words "Sierra" and "Colorado"; the fact that the Rev. Luis Leon spoke a small portion of his benediction, first in Spanish --- his native language --- and then in English.

And the acknowledgement that women, in some circles and in some policies, still are not recognized as full and equal participants in what still is an evolving great experiment.

There was the immense significance of the inauguration on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday of a president with African roots, just elected decisively to a second term --- reinforced by the wonderful diversity of the inaugural crowd.

And other aspecits of an inaugural speech that set an unequivocal progressive agenda, acknowledging but not focused on virtues --- some actual but many imaginary --- of the past.

I am not at all a fan of public prayer, for the most part meaningless blather. But I was moved, too, by the entirety of the Rev. Mr. Leon's benediction, expressing as it did common aspirations that can be fulfilled --- not by cosmic intervention but by hard and cooperative human effort. I'm only sorry that I couldn't find a Spanish version of the passage spoken in that language. I'll keep looking.

Let us pray:

Gracious and eternal God, as we conclude the second inauguration of President Obama, we ask for your blessings as we seek to become, in the words of Martin Luther King, citizens of a beloved community, loving you and loving our neighbors as ourselves.

We pray that you will bless us with your continued presence because without it, hatred and arrogance will infect our hearts. But with your blessing we know that we can break down the walls that separate us. We pray for your blessing today because without it, distrust, prejudice and rancor will rule our hearts. But with the blessing of your presence, we know that we can renew the ties of mutual regard which can best form our civic life.

We pray for your blessing because without it suspicion, despair, and fear of those different from us will be our rule of life. But with your blessing, we can see each other created in your image, a unit of God’s grace, unprecedented, irrepeatable (sic) and irreplaceable.

We pray for your blessing because without it, we will see only what the eye can see. But with the blessing of your blessing we will see that we are created in your image, whether brown, black or white, male or female, first generation or immigrant American, or daughter of the American Revolution, gay or straight, rich or poor.

We pray for your blessing because without it, we will only see scarcity in the midst of abundance. But with your blessing we will recognize the abundance of the gifts of this good land with which you have endowed this nation.

We pray for your blessing. Bless all of us, privileged to be citizens and residents of this nation, with a spirit of gratitude and humility that we may become a blessing among the nations of this world. We pray that you will shower with your life-giving spirit, the elected leaders of this land, especially Barack our president and Joe our vice president. Fill them with a love of truth and righteousness, that they may serve this nation ably and be glad to do your will. Endow their hearts with wisdom and forbearance, so that peace may prevail with righteousness, justice with order, so that men and women throughout this nation can find with one another the fulfillment of our humanity.

We pray that the president, vice president and all in political authority will remember the words of the prophet Micah, “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness and always walk humbly with God?”

Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, may God bless you all your days. All this we pray, in your most holy name, amen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for printing this, Frank. Yesterday was such a beautiful and moving day. Virginia