What will stand out for you about the Presidential inauguration in future weeks and months? Many have commented on the powerful oratory of Amanda Gorman’s poetry recital.
Perhaps it was the oddness of the event, the absence of the outgoing president, the facemasks and lack of a crowd, the realisation that a normal gesture created a sense of COVID related mild peril when Garth Brooks went down the line of former presidents hugging them all. Maybe you were impressed with what Joe Biden had to say as he sought to reunify a country. Of course every president or prime minister must talk about healing divides after a bruising campaign but 46 wasn’t simply going through the motions when he talked about an “uncivil war.”
For me, it wasn’t about what was said but what was not. There was a moment in his speech when Joe Biden invited us all to bow our heads in silence and pray. Was it just a little folksy nod to win over the religious right? Had he lost his place for a moment and used this as an opportunity to find it? Was it a genuine heart felt call? The important thing is that it happened. Later I observed that the pastor giving the benediction used his prayer to make a speech, the president used his speech as an opportunity call to prayer.
That moment of silence when people were called to pray might just be the most significant moment in Joe Biden’s presidency. It reminded us that politicians may have much to say and lots to do but in the end our true need is for God. It was a reminder that our leaders need our prayers. It was a reminder that God does belong in the public square not just our private lives and not just in the ceremonies but right at the heart of practical life.
So thank you Mr President for doing this. I’m sure that I won’t be alone in saying that my prayer is for you that you will seek the Lord throughout your presidency not just for the wisdom you need to lead but that you may know Christ and his salvation in your own life.