I don’t think I’ve ever watched an inauguration before.  If I did, I have no memory of doing so.

When John F. Kennedy was elected, my family mourned.  I think I was eight years old.  I’m not sure any election has caught our collective imagination since then.  I’m also pretty sure I’ve never felt anywhere near as desperate for a change.  I remain, by the way, a registered Republican.  I’m probably not a very good Republican anymore.  I come from a family of life long Republicans.  I joined the Young Republicans when I registered to vote.  And I still have some desire for fiscal prudence.  But I feel like the religious right has co-opted the soul of the party socially, and a religious commitment to what has turned out to be unregulated greed has landed us the the economic mess we’re in today.  Don’t get me started on the Bush war …

In all honesty, most people who know me feel I should self identify as a liberal Democrat.  I don’t.  I think my values are Christ centered and biblically based.  I just don’t recognize either in what is usually identified as the “Christian” agenda.

But, back to the inauguration.  I find myself hoping that Obama means  what he says when he says he wants to be a President for all Americans and he wants to work with Republicans.  At the same time, I hope he remembers that he was elected President, and those who voted for him, myself included, expect him to stand for something and to lead.  God knows we need it.  I don’t expect Republicans to roll over.  But I hope we can live into the spirit of John McCain’s concession speech and work with Obama for the good of our country.

We are not red states and blue states.  We need to be the United States.  We are Democrats and Republicans, Christians and Jews and Muslims and Buddhists and even atheists, we are liberals and conservatives and a wide variety of political stripes, we are a tossed salad of ethnic backgrounds, and we are all Americans.  We will either stand together, or we will sink into something no longer recognized as American.

These are tough times, very tough times, here and around the world.  I know people who are hurting.  I read about so many more in terrible distress.  Pray for those whose lives and livelihoods are threatened, by war and civil unrest, by economic turmoil, by changing climate …  Pray for our country.  Pray for Barrack Obama, our national leaders and leaders around the world.  Pray for God’s creation.  It’s our sacred care.

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