The Dean’s Corner
Hills We Must Climb Together
Amanda Gorman’s stunning inaugural poem this week displaced the painful images of mob violence at the capital, and instead gave our nation something with which to heal: resplendent and prophetic, Ms. Gorman challenged us to envision our identity as Americans as a people with the courage and love build upon brokenness. She proclaimed in The Hill We Climb:
Because being American is more than a pride we inherit,
It’s the past we step into and how we repair it.
It is no coincidence that the prophets of the Old Testament were not kings or presidents: they were poets, speaking words of blessings and woe that snuck past our rational minds – which can misread fact and disfigure truth – to place on our hearts a word of honesty from which we cannot hide.
The Hill We Climb has been on my own heart since Wednesday, leading me to hope we can be a church – and a nation – that is willing to seek its identity by “stepping into the past, in order to repair it,” thus becoming a place where all God’s children can live, love, and prosper.
Last week Trinity welcomed The Rev. Dr. Marvin McMickle, who reminded us that there is no time in our past when American was great for everyone, and that the way forward is to build a community where all are honored. This coming Sunday Dr. Emily Welty, a member of the International Committee to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, will speak with me about dismantling the norms that force us to resign ourselves to a world with nuclear weapons.
Both of these community leaders call us to follow Amanda Gorman’s lead: let’s find our identity and our meaning in the good work of reconciliation and repair. There we will meet our neighbor, and be transformed.
I invite you to read more at my personal blog, and follow me on Twitter @BernardJOwens.