While the sun shined and the air was cold, I felt warm when I heard this prayer. No, I was not there in person, but I watched the ceremony and the parade, and a lot of coverage on NBC TV. (you can see a lot of the video here.)
I listened on NPR a couple days ago, and I knew to tune in when Rev. Joseph Lowery began to speak. If only more of us all will hear from God, and we can all learn more in how to live together. We have high hopes for our new president, but we must all change to bring about change.
Here is Rev. Joseph Lowery, at the Inauguration of President Barack Obama. January 20, 2009.
...and the transcript of the prayer:
Rev. Joseph Lowery’s Benediction at the Inaugural Ceremony
Unofficial transcription from the video
January 20, 2009
God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
God who has brought us thus far along the way,
Thou, who has by thy might led us into the light,
keep us forever on the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee;
lest our heart, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee.
Shadow beneath thy hand,
may we forever stand true
to thee, O God, and true to our native land.
We truly give thanks for the glorious experience we’ve shared on this day. We pray now, O Lord, for your blessing upon thy servant, Barack Obama, the forty-fourth President of these United States, his family and his administration. He has come to this high office at a low moment in the national, and indeed the global, fiscal climate.
But because we know you’ve got the whole world in your hands, we pray for not only our nation, but for the community of nations. Our faith does not shrink, though pressed by the flood of moral ills. For we know that, Lord, you are able and you are willing to work through faithful leadership to restore stability, mend our brokenness, heal our wounds and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor, of the least of these, and from favoratism toward 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.
While we have sown the seeds, 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 the 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, O 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, wherever we seek your will.
Bless President Barack, First Lady Michelle, look over our little angelic Sasha and Melia,
We go now to walk together, children, pledging that we won’t 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 nations shall not lift up swords against nations, 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 as 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 do justice and love mercy say “Amen.”
(hat tip to Jim over at Box Turtle Bulletin)