In 2015, after the horrific shooting of pastor and state senator Clementa Pinckney and members of his church during an evening prayer meeting in Charleston, South Carolina, President Barack Obama spoke at Rev. Pinckney’s funeral. During his address, he began singing “Amazing Grace.” It was an incredibly powerful healing moment for our country. And perhaps one of President Obama’s most inspired moments as a speaker.
This week in the United States, we are voting for our future. We are a country divided like we haven’t been since the Civil War. Maybe—just maybe—we will begin a healing journey. We will see what happens in the coming days.
So that we might be reminded of the essential nature of empathy and compassion in our world, this week I have chosen an eerily haunting and deeply moving performance of Zoe Mulford’s song, “The President Sang Amazing Grace.” The performance is by the Kronos Quartet, one of the most celebrated, influential, and pioneering performing arts groups of our time, and Meklit, an Ethio-American vocalist, composer, and cultural activist. As her website aptly describes, she makes music that “sways between cultures and continents.”
Find a quiet moment to take in this 4-minute video. Let the powerful lyrics and melody, the harmonics of the string quartet, and the power of Meklit’s voice and presence wash through you. May it call us to our hearts. May it awaken tenderness and connection in the space in between all peoples.
~ ~ ~