21 January 2009

favorite bit

Tuesday's Inauguration of our 44th president marked something significant. I know the conversation swirls about President Obama being bi-racial, therefore not black. But perhaps we can agree about this: he is a person of color. That is a first for our country. And personally, in the ceremony, as I listened on the radio, I found the benediction by Rev Lowery to be a highlight.

Here's some of his language as reported on a USA Today blog:

"Rev. Joseph Lowery, a civil rights icon and a pastor known to speak his mind to power, opened his benediction with the first words of the "Negro National Anthem," Lift Every Voice and Sing,

God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears ...

Lowery implored God to help Americans make "choices on the side of love, not hate, on the side of inclusion not exclusion, tolerance not intolerance."

He updated the famous passages from Isaiah, suggesting humanity "beat tanks into tractors." He called for a time, quoting Micah 4:4, when every man shall sit beneath his vine and fig tree and live in peace and unafraid, Amos 5:24, "Let justice roll down like waters."

Lowery also brought a smile to the president with a recitation he's used before, asking God to

... help us work for that day when black will not be asked to give 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."

He concluded,

Let all who do justice and love mercy say amen and say amen."

- from Cathy Lynn Grossman of the USA Today

I googled the remarks because I was interested in reading what I heard.
What I did not predict, is that people would be upset about these remarks.

Am I missing something? Are his comments something that need to divide us? Or can we find an invitation within those words to live differently?

Lord have mercy on us, really, so that we would not allow the enemy to win battles that cause us to be at odds with one another. Another great leader prayed once, "Lord, let them be one, as the Father and son are one."

Photo credit: by Ron Edmonds/AP: The Rev. Joseph E. Lowery gives the benediction at the end of the swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington


Dan said...

that was my favorite part of the entire ceremony, but I've already had a couple people tell me they were deeply offended at his "divisive" remarks.

Anonymous said...

it is offensive b/c if a white person would have said it everyone one of color would be up in arms about how racist that comment was. people of color can be just as racists as whites.

Gracie said...

Thanks, Dan.
And, thank you Anonymous... I would love to hear more about what you're thinking. I wonder if one is more or less offended if they know the motivation and/or heart of the person issuing the remarks? For instance a friend might say something to me and I take it one way, where someone unknown to me might say the very same remarks but I react to it differently. Anyway, if you happen back, and want to "say a little more" I would be interested in hearing your heart!

Anonymous said...

it just seems that during the whole campaign that no one would talk about his color OR it was racist if a white person brought up the fact that he is bi racial, but now that he is in, it's the greatest thing ever. there is a double standard. ALTHOUGH he's totally denying his white "half" through this whole thing...interesting. (rascist?)
i hope now the people of color will quit using the excuse that the reason they don't have money or jobs or education is b/c they've never been given a chance and the whites are still oppressing them, b/c by the look of the white house, things are looking pretty good for them as a culture. the whole concept of having things given to you b/c you "deserve" them is stupid. sitting on your tail all day, not looking for work or to better yourself by education, but just expecting a hand out b/c of the color of your skin or b/c your "people" were opressed is stupid. people are saying that before 1-20-09 there wasn't freedom for the black person, NOW they can start living the american dream- believe me, the american dream was alive and well BEFORE he became prez...or else he wouldn't be there in the first place.
the terrorists don't care he's black...they killed every color, in fact they are actually taking a more aggressive view b/c he is of color. they are thinking he's sold out. the ecomony doesn't care if you're black, white, asian, hispanic or purple...it has slowed down for EVERYONE. homelessness and job loss are affecting EVERYONE.
just sick of the excuses- people need to take responsibility for themselves, their actions, their decisions...no matter what color they are.