Wednesday, November 05, 2008

"The Arc of God's Justice Is Long, But It Does Touch the Earth."

I am particularly proud to be an American on this historic day.

As one who grew up in the bitter racism of a segregated society in south Alabama, I rejoice today that the final color barrier in American life has been broken by the election of the first African-American president in our nation’s history.

People of good will all over our nation, regardless of political party and electoral allegiance, are touched on this historic occasion.

We have endured a most grueling presidential campaign. The genius of democracy has once again been demonstrated in this simmering stewpot called America. 120 million Americans cast votes in calm and security, with not one single reported incident of reprisal. From sea to shining sea, red and yellow, black and white, rich and poor, old and young celebrated their most treasured civic resource: the right to vote.

As Senator McCain put it in his concession speech, with characteristic directness, “The American people have spoken and they have spoken clearly.” He seemed to sense the significance of the moment with his tone of remarkable graciousness and his dramatic conclusion, “Americans never hide from history. We make history."

Senator Obama struck a similar conciliatory note in his acceptance speech, saying of McCain, “He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader."

As Barack Obama was being chosen by the American family to serve as its president for the next four years, we were holding renewal services in the First Baptist Church of Aliceville, Alabama. We were graced by the presence of numerous African-Americans in the congregation, over a couple of dozen. The pastor later told me that this was the most racially integrated worship celebration he has had the privilege of leading as pastor of this fine fellowship.

I have had a line from Dr. King in my mind all day long: "the arc of God's justice in long, but it does touch the earth."

We have come a long, long way on the journey toward justice in this country. Only a short time ago, that day when Americans would be judged “on the strength of their character rather than the color of their skin” remained only a distant dream.

But, today, that dream has become reality.

9 comments:

Dr Randi Fass said...

Charlie, I share your enthusiasm and gratitude for the history-making steps forward we have taken with this election. Frankly, I do not agree with many of the stands President-elect Obama has taken on some key issues, but I know that no one has any authority other than that which God allows. I prayed last night, and will continue to pray, for his safety, for wisdom, discernment and for those with whom he will surround himself for the next four years. He faces a world that is full of difficulty and evil, and he will need all the grace and perception God can grant him.

May God grant us all the ability to see past color and judge each other on the merits of our efforts. May God forgive us for our moral lukewarm-ness. May God bless the Obama Family and all Americans.

Thank you Charlie for your sensitive insights at a time when many disappointed in the outcome of this historic election.

Charlie Johnson said...

Dear Randi,

Your gracious, wise comment reflects the sensitivity and understanding our country needs right now. Thank you for this maturity, friend. Your love for God and faithfulness in prayer is an ongoing inspiration to me.

CFJ

Kansas Bob said...

Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson publishing, offered these four commitments to our new president:

1. I will pray for him and our country.
2. I will assume his motives are good, giving him the benefit
of the doubt.
3. I will not speak ill of him, even if I don’t always agree with him.
4. I will cast off the spirit of cynicism, and be a positive force for good.

I applaud Michael for presenting such great thoughts. I will join him in this commitment and hope that many other people of faith will follow his example.

Anonymous said...

Word's to live by! But should't we feel this way about ANYONE who is elected to this office?

Charlie Johnson said...

Bob, so good to hear from you again, a pleasure I suspect I might receive more often if I blogged with greater regularity! Michael Hyatt's resolutions should be those of all believers in this country, indeed, of all persons of goodwill. Thanks for sharing. And, yes, these commitments should be made before God regardless of who hold the office of president.

Barnabas said...

Dear Charlie:
Glad to see that you have written something new and recent in your blog. I voted for Obama, and hope and pray with God's help, that this President-Elect can and will make a "Paramount" difference in our Country! I pray that God will "use him" in a positive way for the people in the U.S. Especially regarding our Economy, Wars Overseas, Terrorism, Help for the Homeless and Needy, etc. - just a few examples of what I am talking about!
Everyone in Nashville, TN. misses and loves you! We wish you all the best in everything you do!
God Bless and Keep YOU!
Love, Barnabas

Elizabeth Nall said...

Pastor Charlie,
You asked me this noon if your gimmick worked (Nov 16). It worked for me. When I heard the scripture read, I thot "Oh, no." But then you talked about all of us having one talent.
Then..
then..
you bade us take our dollar or five or ten out and build a relationship. I have never seen this done. Usually the pastor tells us to go out and make some money. I am impressed.
I am writing a blog bc I cannot find your email address.
Elizabeth

Charlie Johnson said...

Thank you for your kindness and affirmation about my ministry in Nashville, Barnabas. I miss all of you in the Music City!

Elizabeth, the talent offering continues to yield creative, productive results. Yes, it's not common to distribute money in the pews; usually, it's only collected!

Anonymous said...

Repent, Charlie, Repent-