Today, I sat in the largest classroom at my school with about 70 other people and watched the peaceful transition of power from George W. Bush to Barack Obama. Power has changed hands peacefully in this country about fifty times (yes, I am aware that there have only been 44 presidents, but Grover Cleveland was sworn in for two non-consecutive terms AND the 25th Amendment (which transfers the powers of the presidency to the vice president in case of the incapacity of the of the president) has been invoked a few times, mainly for surgical procedures on the president…so that’s two peaceful transitions each time). Think about that. Power has changed hands peacefully.
As a student of theology and peace studies, there was something really powerful about being in a room with some of the brightest theological minds in the country. One professor allowed his class, aptly entitled Christian Political Thought, go ten minutes early so that they could all go watch the inauguration. There were tears shed, lots of laughter, and overall, a sense that things will get better. I say this not as an endorsement of any candidate or party, but rather from a sense that, if that many people with divergent political and theological agendas can gather at my school to be present with each other, there is hope.
As I sat and wrote a paper tonight (on the question “Why the Church?”), I was reminded of the feeling I had this morning, a feeling of true community. A genuine sense of all of us being in it together. And that’s a pretty awesome thing to remember.