Patrick Semansky | Credit: AP

Amanda Gorman, a 22 year-old poet, delivered a stirring recitation of her poem “The Hill We Climb” after the president and vice-president were inaugurated this past Wednesday.  That such a youthful artist could speak so mightily into an historic moment is testimony to the power of the arts to inspire human souls.  There was real beauty in the honesty of her words and a passionate appeal to lift up a common charge to rise above.

There are a couple sections that particularly struck me as I listened:

“We’ve braved the belly of the beast
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace
And the norms and notions
of what just is
Isn’t always just-ice

This is the era of just redemption
We feared at its inception
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
of such a terrifying hour
but within it we found the power
to author a new chapter
To offer hope and laughter to ourselves
So while once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert
How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?”

I commend the full text of Gorman’s poem to you.  As Americans and as people of faith, we are beginning a new chapter in our shared narratives.  Our callings as God’s children similarly remind us that God’s unconditional love is the source of strength that keeps catastrophe in its place while affording greater progress in our quest of justice for all.

May peace find you this day. -Pastor Peter

Let us pray,
(The Peace Prayer of Saint Francis)

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy. 

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive, 
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, 
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.