I’m sitting in the floor of my living room watching President Obama’s second inauguration.
On Martin Luther King Day.
Watching all the dignitaries file in and take their seats. Watching the limousine drive the Obamas from the White House to the Capitol.
Hearing news commentators say that Obama will take the oath of office with his hand on two Bibles – one used by President Lincoln and one that belonged to Dr. Martin Luther King.
But what really matters today is the speech Obama will make toward the middle of the ceremony. His second inaugural address.
Because words are powerful.
Every four years I think of the day I skipped school so that I could stay home and watch Jimmy Carter’s inauguration. Back in those days there was no DVR – we hadn’t even discovered VCRs yet! We had no way of recording, preserving what we saw on television.
So at the age of 15, nerd that I was, I sat right up next to our television set holding a tape recorder as close to the speakers as the power cord would allow, to record Carter’s inaugural address.
Even then, I loved to listen to the way words were weaved together. Like a magic cord that flows straight to your heart.
Or misses it entirely.
Over the years it’s easy to become jaded, when words aren’t lived out in the ways we had hoped. It’s easy to become apathetic when people say one thing, and then do the opposite.
It’s easy to believe the saying that talk is cheap.
Before we lose hope in the power of words, though, remember the words spoken from the other end of the Washington Mall nearly fifty years ago.
Words inspired with power to change the world.
To change hearts.
Like stories about mustard seeds and fig trees, farmers planting fields, and sons returning home.