Psalm 145:1-7 (The Message)
God is magnificent; he can never be praised enough. There are no boundaries to his greatness. Generation after generation stands in awe of your work; each one tells stories of your mighty acts. Your beauty and splendor have everyone talking…Your marvelous doings are headline news.
At approximately 11:00 p.m. November 4, 2008, a new hour commenced in America, as this country elected its first African-American President. On this past Sunday, in a Jubilant Service, I preached from Revelations 5:8, “And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”
The prayers referred to in this text were those of the martyrs, which remained before the Lord. In that spirit, I thought of the millions of African-Americans, and the many others on our behalf, who died over the centuries with unanswered prayers for justice, equality and vindication. So on behalf of all those who now live beyond all time and space, I thank all of you who worked to prepare America and who voted on behalf of America’s future and answered the prayers that lingered in Golden Bowls.
There is another reason why this is a magnificent hour for our nation and for our Commonwealth. The new President-Elect is committed to transforming the Massachusetts’ Health care experiment into answered prayers for 45 million Americans who this very moment are uninsured.
His plan seeks to lower premiums for Americans currently satisfied with their existing insurance; provide access to congressional health insurance for individuals and families who are now uninsured and provide government subsidized support for those who can’t afford full premium payments. Mr. Obama’s plan calls on employers, who do not offer affordable, credible insurance to help the rest of us to pick up the tab; and carries an individual mandate for children, while emphasizing numerous cost saving practices. Most of this plan is currently being pioneered here in our Commonwealth. What we created here has provided a blueprint for a large portion of our newly elected President’s plan. As a result, we can rest assured that the lessons learned here in Massachusetts going forward, will have a real chance of being translated into national public policy that may save millions of lives and billions of dollars. Therefore, in this magnificent hour, beyond the celebration of history, let each of us who have worked to secure the healthcare gains we are now enjoying, pledge ourselves anew to completing the mission of credible, affordable health care for all. Let us pledge ourselves not only to the mission, but to the uncommon partnership that has brought us thus far along the way. There remain tough issues to be worked through, difficult compromises to be made, and challenging choices to be implemented. Our current economic crisis only adds to the complexity of the present moment. But we can and we must succeed. Unborn generations await our triumph and the national journey toward the day when everyone who lives beneath the Stars and Stripes will have access to quality, affordable health care is tied to our success.
There is one other characteristic that makes this moment a magnificent hour here in our Commonwealth. The experiment of our uncommon partnership! We have managed to build real relationships of respect and trust across historical boundaries. Progressives, liberals and conservatives; corporate leaders and consumer advocates; government officials and religious prelates – have found the will and interest to work from within our differences while reaching beyond our differences. While Washington and its new administration in waiting, dreams of such a reality; here in Massachusetts that reality is already in formation. Just as our gains of healthcare reform must be protected and perfected, so too must the strength of this uncommon partnership be protected and perfected. Both are grand experiments inextricably bound together. If we attain adequate Health Care Reform and sustain an uncommon partnership that can also be translated on a national level; we will have not only inspired innovative and helpful public policy, but we will have become better human beings.
What a magnificent hour? With God’s help, let us seize it!
The Reverend Hurmon Hamilton
President, Greater Boston Interfaith Organization
This program aired on November 13, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.