20 January 2009

Change has come.

I sit here, finally pleased (not just pleased-- ecstatic, thankful, finally yes finally) at the direction my country has chosen to take.  Pleased that we will momentarily have a President who judges individuals on the strength of their character, not by the color of their skin, their sexual preference, their religion, or their political allegiances.  Pleased that he inspires hope and not despair.  Pleased that he is human, and that he does not pretend to be otherwise.  Pleased that he models the ethics that he expects from not just our country, but our world, knowing full well that the only way to lead our country along the path of redemption is to lead by example.  Pleased that he encourages not just thought, but action, as the only way to make lasting change.  Pleased that he calls our generation to uphold the ideals on which our country was founded, and asserts that the meeting of threats calls not for abandonment of ideals but the cleaving to them as the only way by which to preserve our humanity.  Pleased that he espouses collective responsibility, not just blame for the few and justification for the inaction of many. Pleased that he calls for an end to indifference, for indifference causes just as many casualties as direct violence.  Pleased that he acknowledges the difficulty, that he tells the truth, that he discourages blindness to unpleasantness.  Every light originates from darkness.  
My words are inadequate to thank the universe for this man, this change.  I defer instead to Bishop Gene Robinson's moving blessing before Sunday's "We are One" concert.  I was there, and I was moved-- and I hope that this change of power will inspire us all not just to reverence, but to action.
“O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will bless us with tears -- tears for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women in many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.
Bless this nation with anger -- anger at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.
Bless us with discomfort at the easy, simplistic answers we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth about ourselves and our world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.
Bless us with patience and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be fixed anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.
Bless us with humility, open to understanding that our own needs as a nation must always be balanced with those of the world.
Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance, replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences.
Bless us with compassion and generosity, remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable.
And God, we give you thanks for your child, Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States.
Give him wisdom beyond his years, inspire him with President Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for all people.
Give him a quiet heart, for our ship of state needs a steady, calm captain.
Give him stirring words; We will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.
Make him color-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.
Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.
Give him strength to find family time and privacy, and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods.
And please, God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we’re asking far too much of this one. We implore you, O good and great God, to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand, that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity, and peace. Amen."

No comments: