On January 24, Carlyn won second place in the Stamford Symphony Scholarship Competition. In addition to the self-confidence boost, it comes with a $7,00 scholarship to be used during her four years in college. She has become an accomplished cellist. Lory and I are very proud of her, of course.
Speaking of college, she worked for months on applications to nine colleges – a number that’s a little below the average number of colleges to which Staples students apply. Now comes the auditions at those schools, beginning with a mid-west trip in a couple of weeks and ending at schools nearer to home.
Today I received my Commemorative Inauguration Edition of Newsweek. With photos and commentary, it brought back some of the inspiration we felt on January 20. I loved everything about the event, with the exception of Obama’s unfortunate choice of Rick Warren to deliver the invocation, who proved to be even more inappropriate than we feared. Forget it.
The benediction from Rev. Joseph Lowery, born four-score and seven years ago, came from the depths of his life-long dedication to the cause of racial justice. You could hear the sense of appreciation he felt for this day, this great event, and you could hear the sound of sage-like wisdom rolling up from the depths of his soul:
“God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou who has brought us thus far along he way, thou who has by thy might led is into the light, keep us forever in the path, we pray, lest our feet stray from the places where we met thee, lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee; shadowed beneath thy hand may we forever stand, true to our God, true to our native land.”
He was quoting the closing verse of the wonderful hymn commonly known as the Negro National Anthem: Lift Every Voice and Sing. The words were penned by the great preacher, James Weldon Johnson, and put to music by his brother, John. (It’s 149 in our hymnal.)
As we watched the inauguration we were reminded of the Civil Rights Movement, the long march toward freedom, and we were assured that the world is changing for the better, in spite of the difficult stops and starts and some big bumps along the way.
We’re part of the evolution of life on this beautiful, fragile little planet. Each of us evolves, moving through the seasons of change, growing a soul that senses that there’s something more, something moving in us, something beyond our capacity to understand or explain, something that creates in each of us and increased capacity for compassion.
Charles Darwin, who helped us to take a giant step in our evolution, considered the priesthood. but he sailed of on the Beagle instead – a different kind of priesthood. We’re celebrating the 200th anniversary of his birth (February 12, 1809) on Friday, February 13 at the Continental Manor in Norwalk. Dr. Laurie Santos of Yale will speak on “Sex. Evolution, and Human Nature.” Our church is co-sponsoring the event, along with the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism and the Wilton Friends Meeting. Let me know if you’d like to attend. I’ll be offering a poetic invocation.