Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Barack Obama and the hope of a dream fulfilled

Like most Americans I was tuned into TV today's coverage of Barack Obama's inauguration. I am filled with a sense of hope for many reasons. here are a few of my thoughts.
  1. the end of an administration that has seen little tangible success. Dubya's administration reflected the way it started out at the turn of the century; chaotic and controversial. Remember the way he got into office and the scandal surrounding the election process?
  2. the conversation surrounding racial equality has taken a giant leap forward, with our first African American president taking office. It is my hope that Obama (and all people) will be judged by the content of his character, and not by the color of his skin. Many Americans are willing to do just that, while many more still cling to racial biases that will dictate how they look at our new president, or any one else who is different from them for that matter.
  3. I am hopeful that the walls that separate us will come down, and that racism will be eliminated. Barack Obama's election furthers such hope among all Americans, not just African-Americans. Just as Martin Luther King's "Dream" encompassed all people, so the election of our first black president is for all of us... "One nation under God".

What Obama's election will not provide:

  1. The answer to all of our problems. We may have a renewed sense of hope; individually as well as collectively, but Barack Obama cannot do it alone. Nor can he provide the answers to our greatest dilemma, which is spiritual in nature. He may be able to, with the help of others, lead our nation to brighter days, but we dare not put all of our faith and hope in one man. Let us pray for him and do our part as citizens, but let us look to God for the answers that only He can provide. God will use Barack Obama for His good purpose, perhaps to unite us as a nation or even more. Only time will tell.
  2. The fulfillment of MLK's dream. As many have said, this is just the next step (a big one I might add) in the process of uniting us as a nation and breaking down the walls of racism. The real work is ongoing, as we embrace the reality of what it will take to see King's dream become reality. We need to come together and continue the conversation with openness and honesty. The only way combat and overcome the differences that separte us is to come together in the bond of God's perfect love, and to speak truthfully to one another; confess our sins of pride and prejudice, and realize that God, indeed, created us equal. We can do this without abandoning our own cultural heritages, as God, through His Spirit, develops a new culture among and within us. It is a Jesus culture;one that is defined by the love we have for God and one another.
  3. True and everlasting peace. President Obama may be able to resurrect our fallen economy. He may also be able to restore peace in the US and abroad. He may, very well, go down as the greatest president our nation has ever known. But true and everlasting peace come from another King who laid down His life for the sins of the world.

When we, as followers of Christ, come together as one body, the world will see what God can do. God's desire is to use us, the Church, as His light in the midst of a dark and dying world. As we live, love and serve the way Christ did, Christ will be seen through us, and people will see the True and Living Way to God