Millions are gathered today to express their joy at his arrival. They throng the hillsides and fill to overflowing the enormous mall in the heart of Washington DC. When he came out onto the dais they yelled and cheered like people posessed. Well, in a way they were - posessed of a new hope and a fresh impetus because of one man - Barak Obama.
It cannot be healthy to begin a new job with the kind of expectations and with the adullation that attend this man. He ascends to office with an almost God-like Messianic expectation. Things will really change now - our time has come. 'Yes, we can' declare the posters, and the cry of the multitiudes is 'You bet!'
Is it ever right to put so much store by any man or woman, however gifted or attractive they may be? Obama is just a man like you and me. He will make mistakes, and because of the size of his responsibility they will be big ones. He needs God, and he needs to surrender his life daily to God if he is to have any effect at all. He will find it hard to give due place to his family and probably even harder to resist the temptation to believe his own PR people. But he must remember his first place is to be a husband and a father, and that humility is the key to wisdom.
Rick Warren, the pastor of Saddleback Church in California set us an example today. He doesn't see eye to eye with the new White House on many issues, but he stood alongside the relatively young Obama today and prayed for him openly. So must we, but we must also resist the cult of celebrity. Barak Obama is not the Messiah - only Jesus is. From today the new President stands in need of prayer, in need of God and in need of patience and forbearance as he comes to office in what must be the most difficult of times, just before Jesus returns. When that day comes, of course, we shall really have reason to sing 'Hail to the Chief!