No matter one’s political affiliation, hopefully we can all agree that Inaugurations are spectacular events and speak to the uniqueness of our country. Whether the candidate I voted for wins or loses, I try to watch the Inauguration, and I’m always encouraged and inspired by the significance of the day.
This year, like many others, I was taken aback by the 22-year-old poet Amanda Gorman as she shared her poem “The Hill We Climb.” She took her place on the steps of the US Capitol building, where just weeks before we all witnessed great hate and division; yet this day, Gorman, with hundreds of millions of people watching, calmly and confidently shared her own words in an effort to inspire and unite. Her poem and her presence seemed to resonate with many, as different lines she shared went viral. I think it speaks to the hearts of those watching.
I’ve now reread Gorman’s poem many times, and I love how she captured the uniqueness of creation and the beauty that is breathed into every human. God handcrafted each and every one of us, those you love and those you hate. God, in all His infinite wisdom, has said we all are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are a nation of beautifully unique and resilient people and our diversity speaks to the imagination of our Creator.
Gorman’s poem helps portray that in our diversity we can be stronger together, that we are all beautiful people that have more in common than we might believe. As she stated, “…And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us…” Learning to harness our diversity along our common journey in this world can be a reason to unite instead of a reason to divide.
As followers of Jesus, this should resonate deeply. We are called to be the love and light of this world. Laying down our rights and representing Jesus…not only for the sake of our nation, but more importantly for the sake of the Kingdom of God.
Gorman closed her poem with the following words:
….And every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful.
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid,
the new dawn blooms as we free it.
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.
As followers of Jesus, let’s be brave enough to see the light in others, and to be the light for others, “giving light to everyone in the house.”
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others… (Matt 5:14-16)