my Lord, what a morning!

thinking

a personal reflection on inauguration ceremonies and the Women’s March on Washington…

This morning, I watched the live television broadcast of the inaugural prayer service. In commemoration of Donald John Trump becoming the 45th President of the United States and America’s praised and prized peaceful transfer of power, a few thousand folk gathered under the towering pointed arches, flying buttresses, and ceiling vaulting of the Washington National Cathedral. There, for an hour, they listened to numerous voices praying and singing in varied traditions of faith and hymnody, all celebrating the glories (and summoning all people to recommit to the promotion of the causes) of peace and justice.

This morning, I also watched and through this day continue to watch live news coverage of the Women’s March on Washington (and around the globe!) as hundreds of thousands (millions?) of women and men gather to proclaim that “women’s rights are human rights”, to protect the dignity of women and girls of all ages, anywhere and at any time, and to protest any infringement on the sanctity and security of women’s rights. And, as is true of all marches to (and all marchers who) proclaim, protest, and protect, numerous are the causes, varied are the interests that call people forth. Hence, under the towering, flying, vaulted banner of women’s rights, many peoples and concerns gather in blessed solidarity; among them, Native Americans and colored folk, immigrants of whatever legal status, those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersexual, and asexual (acronymically rendered as LGBTQIA) – in a word, any and all who historically have been and unto this day are marginalized, thrust to the widening circumference of our society far from the centers of power and influence and, thus, in the language of the Declaration of Independence, disenfranchised, divested of their Creator-endowed “certain unalienable Rights…(of) Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

In the words of that grand Negro spiritual:

My Lord, what a morning,

My Lord, what a morning,

My Lord, what a morning

When the stars begin to fall.

You’ll hear the trumpet sound,

To wake the nations underground,

Looking to my God’s right hand,

When the stars begin to fall.

This song is a commemoration of God’s deliverance; a celebration of the coming of that eschatological end-time when sin and death, hate and war, discrimination and oppression finally are defeated. Still, in this day and time, when all is not right, when sin and death, hate and war, discrimination and oppression are ruefully alive and unrepentantly unwell, I think, feel that “morning” can be supplanted by “mourning.”

On this day, in prayer and song, by watching and marching, I commit anew to live and labor so that, even in this world, before God’s Kingdom come in its glorious fullness, mourning’s veil is lifted, however slightly, by the morning’s dawn.

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8 thoughts on “my Lord, what a morning!

  1. Paul,

    It was an honor to be with you and Pontheolla at Clevedale during this Inaguration weekend. Hearing your perspective on the hope that you have has given me a new and different view. I was clearly in mourning yesterday morning and this morning and I really had no intention of watching any of the events, but it was compelling to watch the events with the two of you. Your experience of engaging the Other was very evident as we watched and commented on the events. Thank you for this blog post and for the words of the Negro Spiritual both of which are inspiring. After watching the prayer service and some of the women’s march I’m moving out of the mourning phase and looking towards working for love and justice. We have much work to do.

    Much love,

    Loretta

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  2. Paul, I too just finished watching the Cathedral inaugural prayer service. I found it very moving with it’s repeated call to prayer, peace, compassion and justice for ALL. I was a bit surprised at no sermon, but even so………Now I’m about to see what’s going on with the Women’s March – all of the globe, glory be!

    Love to you and Pontheolla
    Beryl

    Liked by 1 person

    • Beryl, as I understand the reports, President Trump’s camp called for no sermon at the inaugural prayer service. Though I, in the light and shadow of Mr. Trump’s campaign (and continued) rhetoric, had and have reservations about our cathedral hosting the service, I do support the discernments of Bishop Curry, Bishop Budde, and Dean Hollerith to host the gathering. I believe they acted in good faith in having the cathedral continue to serve as “a house of prayer for all people” and, given my commitment to be and to remain open to “the other”, I appreciate their open welcome.

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  3. Dear Paul, thank you for your wise attention to and counsel on the events of this weekend. I don’t ever recall feeling as I felt yesterday, simply heavy with a sadness that would not lift. We do not have TV, and I avoided looking at and hearing the news as much as I could online and on public radio. I knew that what was happening could happen just as well (or badly) without me.

    I attended a wonderful class this morning in a series of Saturday classes I am attending on the basics of Jungian psychology. I was in the company of a group of a thoughtful, caring people learning more about the human psyche, how it develops and operates, a pursuit that has fascinated me for several years now. I was torn, because I really wanted to participate in the Women’s March in St. Paul, down a long street from where I sat, but I chose the sanctuary of learning, while up to 60,000 people surrounded our state capital to stand together and with others who feel that the direction laid out for the next four years is a false and unwise one. My heart, as well as my daughter, were with them.

    I join in your song and your prayer that morning may lift the veil that hangs so heavily over us today. I expect negative things from the next four years, but I also expect that we will all find it eye-opening. I expect that we will learn about what it means to be a bitterly divided society, but I also expect that we will learn that we cannot long survive in such a state and that all our interests are joined in ways that we have not yet realized. I expect many of us may learn about our own strength and endurance. We may also learn about friendship and community in unexpected places.

    I pray most personally that my own heart will be open to every human being I encounter in the next four years, as difficult as that may be. That does not mean I am not committed to action and speech on behalf of what I believe to be wise and prudent policy, peace and justice, and protection of vulnerable people all around me, as well as our beleaguered earth. Most of all, I will work to live my life consistently with what I always hear from your heart: more love and yet more love, without condition. I look to you as a very trustworthy source of encouragement and inspiration, and I offer my own best effort to be such to you and to everyone I know.

    Gratitude and much love,

    Karen

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen, you ARE an encouragement to and for me, as I am for you. Your words of counsel and compassion are balm for my fevered soul.

      Looking ahead to the next 4 years, and amidst my processing of what I consider a rocky 2 days, we, as the poet Frost saith, “have promises to keep and miles to go before we sleep.” Vigilant prayer, as in every preceding time, is required in these days.

      Much love,
      Paul

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  4. Well, for what it’s worth, 45 (DJT) will not be in office for very long. There is a reason for him being there and that is to get us back on our Constitution, of which we have woefully gotten so far off. There is SO MUCH going on right now in this universe and on our planet Earth AND IT’S ALL GOOD!… Please have faith in our Creator that He will lead us (IS leading us) in the best direction and all in due time. Don’t believe what is in the news as most it is untrue. Keep an open mind and TRUST THE PROCESS. Full disclosure is coming. THE LIGHT (God’s love) IS WINNING and we will be the most fortunate beneficiaries of everything!!! God bless.

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    • Deanna, I find your perspective interesting, though, at the same time, I confess that I am not sure entirely for my own satisfaction of your meaning. Do you mean that God is working out the divine purpose in the time and space of this life in this world and that, even (perhaps especially) when things look bleak(est), we are to trust that the (God’s) outcome will be good? If so, then I am not sure I agree.

      Though I would like it to be so, I believe that God’s will, in its grandest fulfillment, is not of this world. In this, countless are the things, verily, transgressions of this life that occur and exist (and persist!) quite apart from God’s gracious will AND beyond the reach and grasp of our reason to comprehend. Hence, the fullness of the consummation/culmination of God’s will is for eternity.

      Now, that said, I also believe that I, as a follower of Jesus, am called to be and do all I can that God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven.

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