I'm watching the hype leading up to Barack Obama's inauguration as I type this. The common person on the street can not help but feel hope. Things can't get worse. "This guy can't do worse than the last guy did". "He has a huge job ahead of him, but he can do it." "History in the Making" the CNN screen says. This is a hopeful statement in itself. Do they know that things will be better under Obama? No. Does everyone want it to be better though? Of course. "It's going to be overwhelming." Oprah Winfrey has already called him America's best President... that was before the inauguration even!
The tremendous timing of this, the day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day can't be overlooked. They reality of the animosity, the alienation, the sadness, the hope, the joy that lives in the hearts of many Americans, of all colours, can not be overlooked. In about 25 minutes, I'm going to play the inauguration for a group of 11-14 year olds, some of whom won't care. Some who will be curious. Some will be overwhelmed by the political speak, some by the celebrity. Some will not understand that this is about hope, about dreams, about history and the future.
There are a few times in your life that you have to remember. Many recall the assassination of JFK. Many more recall the horror of space shuttle tragedies or September 11th. Not too many have the hype ahead of time that this event has. How many million showed up in Washington this day? Why? Can the man live up to the hype? Not likely.
However, the immensity of our times, of the heart of the people around us is reflected in the human response, even worship, at this time. People need a saviour, a leader. Many facebook postings today called Mr. Obama something along the lines of "President of the World". We all need hope. Sometimes the hype shows our desperation.
Hope is the word of the year, as far as I can tell. Maybe the word of our lives?