Social commentary

‘The Hill We Climb’: a new expression of an ancient message

Amanda Gorman reads ‘The Hill We Climb’ (click photo to watch)

In the past few months various high-profile ‘Christian Prophets’ confidently predicted a Trump win. Some have apologised, some cling to conspiracies which they believe prove they were actually right.  All of this nonsense does the Church no credit.

But God works in mysterious ways. And in the heart of the inauguration ceremony, we witnessed a truly prophetic message broadcast to the whole world.

In the words of Amanda Gorman, we saw a stirring example of how the language of faith can inspire hope in the most high-profile way possible.

Her poem, The Hill We Climb, drew heavily on the ancient vision of the Hebrew prophet Micah. Most obvious was when she said ‘Scripture tells us’ and quoted from Micah 4:4:

‘Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree and no-one will make them afraid’

But actually the whole concept of The Hill We Climb connected to Micah’s vision of a diverse people who climb the ‘mountain of the Lord’ seeking justice and peace. When Gorman said

“victory won’t lie in the blade, but in all the bridges we’ve made. That is the promise to glade, the hill we climb, if only we dare”

she echoed Micah’s words declared thousands of years before:

‘They will beat swords into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation and nor will they train for war anymore.” 

Honest and realistic

Just as Micah spoke about institutionalised violence, corrupt judges and how the ‘powerful dictate what they desire’ (7:3), Gorman spoke about the unjust world we live in:

When day comes, we ask ourselves where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry, a sea we must wade.
We’ve braved the belly of the beast.
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace,
and the norms and notions of what “just” is isn’t always justice.

And specifically of recent events:

We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it.
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy. This effort very nearly succeeded.

Purpose and calling

Micah’s most famous words are ‘What does the LORD require? To act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God’ (6:8). 

And in contrast to the boasts of ‘Make America Great Again’, Gorman gave a more humble assessment of the state of her nation – and its calling:

Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished.
…And yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine,
but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect.
We are striving to forge our union with purpose.

Inclusive and unifying

And just as Micah vision involves ‘many nations’ coming to the mountain of the Lord, Gorman spoke about a country for all people:

To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters, and conditions of man.
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside.

Hope and redemption

Micah also lived in a time of turbulence saying ‘though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light. (7:8).  And amid the difficulties and challenges of our time, the hope and redemption has never been more relevant:

This is the era of just redemption.
…We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation.
Our blunders become their burdens.
But one thing is certain:
If we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change, our children’s birthright.

Our response

Declarations of hope inspire a response. And although she spoke to the whole world, Gorman’s words speak to all of us:

The new dawn blooms as we free it.
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.

5 thoughts on “‘The Hill We Climb’: a new expression of an ancient message”

  1. It was a great poem from an amazing young woman. What she has achieved at her age is inspiring. I love the analogies in your post to the biblical prophets. It brings hope and light, which is what she intended

    Like

  2. Thanks for your insight which was mentioned in our church discussion this morning. What a remarkable young woman and prophetic poet Amanda Gorman is. God bless her and you in your work

    Like

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