As I write, I sit listening to Senator Roy Blunt, a Republican Senator, speak to the sustained tradition of Inauguration, 232 years long. In the audience are the members of the Supreme Court, members of all 3 parties, Senators, Representatives, and numerous persons of significance including Senator Mitch McConnell, VP Mike Pence, and former Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama. The tradition of democracy; this great experiment goes forward despite challenges from within and from beyond our shores.
The national anthem is being sung and after too long a time I feel the chill in my spine climb until tears wet my eyes. New hope is rising in my breast and the dread of the last 4 years is receding. This is America’s high communion moment.
I believe at this point in history we have the opportunity to recapture the heart and soul of America. It will undoubtedly require of us all an enlargement of our Spirit. Harm has been done, many have been wounded and more than a few killed. Vengeance and punishment will not give us the nation for which we yearn. Quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Let us learn again the sacrament of conversation. Let us open our hearts and minds to thoughts not our own. Let us listen and speak to the convictions that guide each of us in life. Some of what we hear will be offensive in our hearing. Some of what we say will offend others. But we must listen more deeply until we engage the cherished values held by those with whom we disagree. Hearing one another, I truly believe we will find there is more that connects us than that which divides us.
The future beckons, and by God’s grace, we will continue the journey towards the promised land of unity in the midst of diversity. May God bless America and all the peoples of this world.