Saturday, June 27, 2015

USA President Obama in Charleston eulogy: God has visited Grace upon us

Transcript of a snippet from around 14:42 to 21:12, in "President Obama Delivers Eulogy at Charleston Shooting Funeral of Clementa Pinckney [FULL SPEECH]",, 37 min. 36 secs, published on Jun. 26th 2015:

We do not know whether the killer of Rev. Pinckney and eight others knew all of this history (Ravi: of this Charleston church), but he surely sensed the meaning of his violent act. It was an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random, but as a means of control; a way to terrorize and oppress [applause]. And acts that he imagined would incite fear and recrimination, violence and suspicion. And acts that he presumed would deepen divisions that would trace back to our nation's original sin.

Ohhh! But God works in mysterious ways! [Applause] God has different ideas. He didn't know he was being used by God. Blinded by hatred the alleged killer could not see the Grace surrounding Rev. Pinckney and that Bible study group. The light of love that shone as they opened the church door and invited a stranger to join in their prayer circle. The alleged killer could have never anticipated the ways the family of the fallen would respond when they saw him in court in the midst of unspeakable grief with words of forgiveness. He couldn't imagine that. [Standing applause]

The alleged killer could not imagine how the city of Charleston under the good and wise leadership of Mayor Riley, how the state of South Carolina, how the United States of America would respond, not merely with revulsion at his evil act, but with big hearted generosity. And more importantly, with the thoughtful introspection, self-examination that we so rarely see in public life.

Blinded by hatred he failed to comprehend what Rev. Pinckney so well understood. The power of God's Grace! [Applause] This whole week I have been reflecting on this idea of Grace. The Grace of the families who lost loved ones, the Grace that Rev. Pinckney would preach about in his sermon, Grace described in my favourite hymns, the one we all know.

Amazing Grace!
How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind but now I see!

[Ravi: See below for the timestamp of him singing the song later]

According to the Christian tradition, Grace is not earned, Grace is not merited, it is not something we deserve. Rather Grace is the free and benevolent favour of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners, in the bestowal of blessings. Grace (in) a nation out of this terrible tragedy.

God has visited Grace upon us, for He has allowed us to see what we have been blind (to see). He has given us the chance where we have been lost to find our best selves. We may not have earned it, this Grace, with our rancour and complacency and short-sightedness and fear of each other. But we got it all the same. He gave it to us anyway. He has once more given us Grace. But it is upto us now to make the most of it. To receive it with gratitude, and to prove ourselves worthy of this gift.

---- end transcript of snippet -----

[Around 35:20 USA President Obama sings the words of the Amazing Grace song given earlier]

Ravi: I am just bowled over by the spiritual fire shown by USA president Obama and the congregation at the Charleston church which saw tragedy a few days ago, his spiritually uplifting way of viewing the tragedy, the magnificent forgiveness shown by some of the victims' families, and how all of this resulted in a stronger city of Charleston (and beyond) completely defeating the killer's savage objectives. Readers may want to view a related blog post : "The awesome Christian act of forgiveness by the families of the Charleston, USA shooting victims", dated June 20th 2015,

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