by Thaddeus, Thu Aug 28, 2008 at 08:53:35 PM EDT
Many in the audience in Denver and at home probably noticed how Barack Obama's cadence changed toward the end of his acceptance speech as he took on the tone of a preacher. It might take some discussion to understand the signficance of his closing line, one that may have been offered as a central statement of his faith as well as the message of his campaign. "Let us hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess."
The reference is to Paul's letter to the Hebrews, Ch. 10, v. 23. This section of the epistle is a celebration of possibility, how all Christians can now, through the sacrifice of Jesus, enter "boldly into the sanctuary," which was previously reserved only for the priests of the Hebrew covenant. This chapter endorses a radical equality, the priesthood of all believers. With this radical equality comes a mutual responsibility. In the lines following those quoted by Obama is this exhortation: "We ought to see how each of us may best arouse others to love and active goodness." And Paul also exhorts his audience to boldness, as in the last verse of the chapter: "We are not among those who shrink back and are lost; we have the faith to make life our own."
I believe this was not a scriptural reference offered by a campaign religious advisor. This reference seems an absolutely sincere expression of faith and the spiritual grounding of Obama's bold endeavor.