but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees,
and no one shall make them afraid;
for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken
--Micah 4:4 NRSV
For me, one of the most moving parts of inauguration ceremonies today came when 22 year-old poet Amanda Gorman read her poem “The Hill We Climb.” She eloquently mixed scripture (Michah 4;4), American history and imagery reminiscent of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. She addressed the recent violence and turmoil but offered hope as we work for a brighter future. I urge you to watch her recite this powerful poem multiple times to take in her words. If you watched it live, watch it again.
Here is a link to a video of her recitation:
Here are some lines from the poem I loved as best as I could transcribe them:
We have learned that quiet isn’t always peace
And the norms and notions of what “just is”
Isn’t always justice . . .
We are not striving to form a union that is perfect
We are trying to forge a union with purpose
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us but what stands before us
We close the divide because we know to put our future first we must put our differences aside
We lay down our arms
So we can reach out our arms towards one another
We seek harm to none
And harmony for all . . .
Even as we grieved we grew
That even as we hurt we hoped
Even as we tired we tried
That we will forever be tied together
Not because we will forever again know defeat
But because we will never again sow division
Scripture tells us to envision
That everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
And noone shall make them afraid
If we are to live up to our own time,
Then victory won’t lie in the blade
But in all the bridges we’ve made
That is the promised glade
The hill we’ll climb
If only we dare
Because being American is more than a pride we inherit
It’s the past we step into and how we repair it . . .
We will not be interrupted or turned around by intimidation
Because we know our inaction or inertia
Will be the inheritance of the next generation
And our blunders become their burdens . . .
For there is always light
If only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Chase Peeples
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