Yesterday I was priviledged to share the historic events happening in our nations capital with my third grade students. Being able to explain to them what was happening and to point out the importance of the day was really a great experience. They actually listened pretty intently and quietly to the swearing in as well as President Obama's speech. I was impressed - granted most of the "big" words went over their heads!
As I watched the inauguaration yesterday I was struck with the incredible traditions and history behind the day. All of the pomp and circumstance and how it all just flowed - it just blew me away. Whether I voted for him or not, I had to admit that it was an exciting and emotional day. I understand that many African Americans were emotional about the day, having our first African American President. But honestly I think that it was more about the fact that as a free country, one that gives its citizens the right and responsibility to vote for our leaders, the people spoke and elected a man that many feel will be a change for our country. I don't think that it should be about the color of a man's skin - but rather the character qualities that he possess to be a great President for our country.
The other thing I was struck with was how GRACIOUS President Bush was in the face of all that was happening. He listened to Obama's speech which indirectly pointed fingers at Bush's administration, he endured being "Boo-ed" (which, by the way was completely unacceptable!), and he left the house and job behind that he had known for 8 years. I loved watching him, smile on his face, not letting the "stuff" of the day get him down. I found myself tearing up as he and Mrs. Bush shook the hands and hugged the Obama's before getting on the helicopter and heading back to Texas. I imagined the emotions they would have been having in that moment. Sigh..
I appreciated the prayer of Pastor Rick Warren (author of The Purpose Driven Life) --
"...Give to our new president, Barack Obama, the wisdom to lead us with humility, the courage to lead us with integrity, the compassion to lead us with generosity. Bless and protect him, his family, Vice President Biden, the Cabinet and every one of our freely elected leaders.
Help us, oh God, to remember that we are Americans, united not by race or religion or blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all. When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget you, forgive us.
When we presume that our greatness and our prosperity is ours alone, forgive us. When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the Earth with the respect that they deserve, forgive us.
And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches and civility in our attitudes, even when we differ.
Help us to share, to serve and to seek the common good of all. May all people of goodwill today join together to work for a more just, a more healthy and a more prosperous nation and a peaceful planet. And may we never forget that one day all nations and all people will stand accountable before you.
Entire transcript found here
Hebrews 13:17 "Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give an account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable to you."