Bringing the Text to Life
It was Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009.
Homiletics contributor Henry Brinton was standing on the Mall in Washington, D.C., as stiff and cold as an ice sculpture. He had been shivering there for four hours, along with about 2 million fellow Americans, anxious for the main event to begin.
Finally, the enormous video screen in front of the Smithsonian showed Barack Obama raising his right hand to take the oath of office. The crowd went wild.
John Roberts, Chief Justice of the United States, laid out the oath: “I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear that I will execute the office of President faithfully.”
Problem was, the oath was supposed to read: “I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President.” The word faithfully had somehow flipped out of place, landing at the end of the phrase.
Barack Obama seemed confused. He followed the Chief Justice’s lead for a few words and then stopped. The justice gave it...