Watching people stream into the inauguration in Washington, as we also watch people wandering into the Agora (the breakroom) at CubeSpace. Sort of like watching the the red carpet at the Oscars. Seeing Ted Kennedy, Quayle, Kerry, Bush 1, Carter,† Gore.
We await the annointing of a new High Priest of the American Religion. Among the functions of the President is to be the our national clergy-person. He helps us understand what we are feeling, who we are. The president exhorts and uplifts, challenges us and comforts us. These are the functions of a minister or rabbi, and they are also the function of the president.
The secular american religion is about the feeling of the sacred evoked by the supreme court, and the houses of congress. And, of course, the President.
Inaugural addresses, more than any other presidential speech, are sermons. They are designed to inspire and challenge. (As opposed to the invocation, which, while a sermon, has absolutely no coherence…each paragraph seems to be completely separated and disconnected).
Ceremonies, like the swearing in of a new president, are ritual, powerful for the spiritual impact they have rather than the words said. We have hymns, like “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.”
9:00: Biden’s been sworn in, and now we listen to an all-star quartet playing “Simple Gifts.” Which no doubt serves partly ot give us the space to feel..to absorb the importance of the moment…which is about how we use instrumental music in worship, also.
9:05: Obama’s Oath of office. And now we celebrate the change with “Hail to the Chief.”
The Inaugural Speech.
My God, what a speaker. He speaks of our collective responsibility…and our mistakes, which is amazing. He is issuing a call to action, the question is, can he come up with ways for us to act, rather than ways for the government to act. He will need to, not in this speech, but over the days to come.
“We are ready to lead once more.” Wondering what this will mean.
Not sure, but he may be challenging Russia. Which is a conflict we’ve seen coming, but nonetheless makes me sad.
“We cannot consume the world’s resources without regard to effect.” Amazing to hear. It is a call to us to recognize that our ways our unsustainable.
And he is back to calling on us to serve. Giving descriptions of people who have served in small ways and big ways. Through housing the homeless or raising good kids.
This may be one of the great speeches of the English Language.
That was amazing.
You know, while the invocation sucked (not theologically, surprisingly enough, but in terms of homiletics), the closing one was great.
Now we party the rest of the day, watching parades, etc.