I'm not really one for watching state ceremonies, but I did watch part of the Presidential Inauguration yesterday - the speech, the poem and the benediction.
The speech was no less than I would have hoped for, calm , measured, and future-focused. The mood was, for me anyway, as important as the message.
The benediction was really intercession, but that's probably down to me being a liturgical pendant, and whilst stylistically it wasn't my thing, these were sincere and hopeful prayers.
It was poem that for me, and for many, was the most striking. Poetry seems to have changed form significantly in recent year to become more 'spoken word', more poetic-prose, with little or no rhyme, and the rhythm, such as it is, arises in the delivery rather than the any inherent pattern of syllable and stress. In recent years, I have come to admire and value this poetic style, with its pithy, punchy observations and fearless responses to complex matters.
Amanda Gorman really delivered! A woman whose words were profound, powerful and prophetic. And which can be read in full here
I have a suspicion that a lot of preachers this Sunday will look across the ocean and reflect on these words of others. It's understandable, but it's not what I'll be doing. For me, the words don't need my comment, my interpretation, my ham-fisted endeavour to reinterpret or reapply them to this context. They stand alone and draw the reader or hearer to their own, private and personal response.
I hope and pray that the hopes and prayers expressed yesterday are indeed worked out in the months and years ahead. And I hope and pray that the truths expressed will be embraced and enacted wherever they are heard.