ALL ARTS Vault Selects

FULL EPISODE

America in Healing at the Riverside Church

Just a few days after the September 11th attacks, artists and spiritual leaders joined together in a celebration of America's diversity and unity at New York City's Riverside Church. Dedicated to the victims of the attack, the evening included prayer, song and dance. Performers include Mandy Patinkin, the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, Lillias White and Dawn Upshaw.

AIRED: September 11, 2019 | 1:27:38
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

Welcome to the ALL ARTS Vault.

I'm Maddie Orton.

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[ Theme music plays ]

[ Organ plays hymn ]

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Narrator: We are at the Riverside Church

in New York City

on this first Sunday after our country's great tragedy,

for a service that is being called America in Healing.

This Gothic cathedral in Manhattan

is a church with a long and ennobling tradition

as an interfaith gathering place.

Religious leaders, along with musicians,

singers, and dancers, will provide a common ground,

a service where art, side-by-side with religion,

is asked to express what the heart is feeling

and the hope it is struggling to find.

This afternoon, 2,500 people have come to this service

of prayer, reflection, and music

from the church, the synagogue,

the Buddhist temple and the mosque,

as well as songs and dances performed by leading artists

from the popular and classical world.

This church is guided by the sentiment

that it is love for each other that makes us whole

and, thus, invincibly strong.

The senior minister of the Riverside Church,

Reverend Dr. James Forbes Jr.,

will deliver the opening remarks.

[ Choir singing hymn ]

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At the Riverside Church this afternoon,

the task before us is to begin to bring our spiritual

and artistic resources to bear on the immense work

of healing that is before our nation.

We leaders from the Buddhist, Islamic,

Jewish, and Christian traditions

join with our brothers and sisters in the arts

to create together what we at Riverside call space for grace.

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moment in time

to express deep feelings,

to grieve with those who grieve at the loss of life,

to give thanks for those who are safe,

to offer strength to those engaged in rescue efforts,

to ponder the mystery of what has happened to us

and to begin to frame our responses.

Space for grace --

a gathering place where we welcome the stranger

and embrace one another across differences.

Space for grace -- a safe haven for peace, for hope,

where we may share wisdom

from the religious traditions we embrace

and from the arts which embrace us.

Space for grace -- an encounter with holy,

holy spirit, manifest in so many ways

but especially in and through our common humanity.

This afternoon, we mark our space for grace with a symbol,

which has sprung up spontaneously

all around New York City since Tuesday --

candle lighting in parks, in delis,

lining the street as near to Ground Zero as possible.

Candles burning -- a spontaneous public ritual

of remembrance and solidarity.

I invite my colleagues in faith to join me

in expressing each from our own tradition

our determination to bear light to the world in these days.

Will you join me now?

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♪ My lord, what a morning

♪ My lord, what a morning

♪ Oh, my lord, what a morning

♪ When the stars begin to fall

♪ When the stars

♪ Begin to fa-a-a-a-ll

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Yes, please.

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Thank you.

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Sheikh Ahmed Dewidar.

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Sheikh Ahmed Dewidar,

the imam of Islamic Center of Mid-Manhattan,

recitation from the holy Koran, the Book of Knowledge and Mercy.

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[ Singing in foreign language ]

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[ Speaks foreign language ]

Imam Al-Hajj Talib Abdur-Rashid,

the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood

in the village of Harlem reading the translation.

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"Before this, we wrote in the psalms

after the message given to Moses.

My servants, the righteous shall inherit the Earth.

Verily in this Koran

is a message for people who truly worship God.

We sent thee not except as a mercy for all creatures."

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[ Singing in foreign language ]

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Blessed are you, eternal one of being...

[ Singing in foreign language ]

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...ruling spirit of the universe.

[ Singing in foreign language ]

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You spread your sukkah, your canopy of peace...

[ Singing in foreign language ]

...over all of us...

[ Singing in foreign language ]

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...over all who dwell on Earth...

[ Singing in foreign language ]

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...and over all your entire world.

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[ Singing in foreign language ]

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May the boundless compassion and wisdom

of the enlightened one embrace us all

and guide us to the right path to peace.

[ Speaks foreign language ]

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Jesus said, "You are the light of the world.

A city set upon a hill cannot be hid.

Let your light so shine that all may see your good works

and glorify our God who is in heaven."

Amen.

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♪ My lord, what a morning

♪ My lord, what a morning

♪ Oh, my lord

♪ What a morning

♪ When the stars

♪ Begin to fall

♪ When the stars

♪ Begi-i-i-n

♪ To-o-o-o-o

♪ Fa-a-a-a-a-a-ll

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♪ Lord, make me an instrument ♪

♪ Of thy peace

♪ Where there is hatred

♪ Let me sow love

♪ Where there is injury, pardon ♪

♪ Where there is doubt, faith ♪

♪ Where there is despair, hope ♪

♪ Where there is darkness, light ♪

♪ Where there is sadness, joy ♪

♪ Oh, divine Master

♪ Grant that I may not so much seek ♪

♪ To be consoled as to console ♪

♪ To be understood as to understand ♪

♪ To be loved as to love

♪ For it is in giving

♪ That we receive

♪ It is in pardoning

♪ That we are pardoned

♪ And it is in loving

♪ That we are born

♪ To eternal life

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♪ You've got to be taught

♪ To hate and fear

♪ You've got to be taught

♪ From year to year

♪ It's got to be drummed in your dear little ear ♪

♪ You've got to be carefully taught ♪

♪ You've got to be taught

♪ To be afraid of people

♪ Who's eyes are oddly made

♪ And people who's skin is a different shade ♪

♪ You've got to be carefully taught ♪

♪ You've got to be taught

♪ Before it's too late

♪ Before you are 6 or 7 or 8

♪ To hate all the people your relatives hate ♪

♪ Careful the things you say

♪ Children will listen

♪ Careful the things you do

♪ Children will see and learn

♪ Children may not obey

♪ But children will listen

♪ Children will look to you

♪ For which way to turn

♪ To learn what to be

♪ Careful before you say, "Listen to me" ♪

♪ Children will listen

♪ How do you say to your child in the night ♪

♪ Nothing's all black, but then nothing's all white ♪

♪ How do you say it will all be alright ♪

♪ When you know that it mightn't be true ♪

♪ What do you do

♪ Careful the wish you make

♪ Wishes are children

♪ Careful the path they take

♪ Wishes come true

♪ Not free

♪ Careful the spell you cast

♪ Not just on children

♪ Sometimes the spell may last

♪ Past what you can see

♪ And turn against you

♪ Careful the tale you tell

♪ That is the spell

♪ Children will liste-e-e-e-n

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[ Bronstein speaking in foreign language ]

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"All the world, all of it, is a very narrow bridge."

Words of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov two centuries ago.

Today, as we stand together, we cannot believe.

We refuse to believe that God has somehow sent us

this terror not to test us,

not to punish us, not to awaken us to our senses.

God cannot have sent us this terror.

But we can see that God has given us a world

that is a very narrow, precarious bridge, so narrow,

so precarious that one would logically look over the side,

fear falling into the abyss,

and simply choose not to cross the bridge,

not to go forward, to live our lives,

to do our holy work,

to affirm everything good that we have ever believed in.

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And so Rabbi Nachman continues.

[ Speaks foreign language ]

The essential principle is [speaks foreign language]

"Fear nothing at all," but we are afraid,

and we will continue to be afraid

of falling off the narrow bridge.

We must not fear to cross it.

We must believe that this bridge of life

becomes ever wider and ever safer

when thousands and thousands of us

gather across all the lines

and the definitions that divide us to become

together the agents of God's goodness.

[ Speaking foreign language ]

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All the world is a very narrow bridge.

[ Speaking foreign language ]

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But the essential principle is to fear nothing at all

for it is that narrow, precarious bridge

that leads to all goodness,

to love, to hope, to truth.

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[ Singing in foreign language ]

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♪ I lift up my eyes

♪ Unto the mountains

♪ From where

♪ From where will my help come? ♪

[ Singing foreign language ]

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♪ My help

♪ Comes from you

♪ Maker of heaven

♪ And Earth

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On behalf of the Buddhist community,

I would like to express my deepest sympathy

and condolences to the family,

relatives, and friends of the victims

and also extend my sincere wish for early recovery

from suffering and pain to you all.

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This time, I would like to share our Buddhist thoughts with you.

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Nonviolence is always the way of life in Buddhism.

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With that said, in this world,

hatred never yet has dispelled hatred.

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It is the absence of the hatred that leads to peace.

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This law is ancient and will last forever.

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With this words,

I would like you to join me in meditation and prayer.

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[ Ding ]

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[ Singing in foreign language ]

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[ Ding ]

[ Ding ]

[ Ding ]

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May we all sentient beings be happy, well, and peaceful.

May we all be free from suffering.

May we all be free from pain.

May we all be free from attachment,

from greed, anger, and self-centeredness.

May we all attain ultimate happiness

and peace of enlightenment through the guidance

of Buddha's wisdom and compassion.

[ Speaks foreign language ]

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Hathaway: ♪ I've been so many places

♪ In my life and time

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♪ I've sung a lot of songs

♪ I've made some bad rhymes

♪ I've acted out my life in stages ♪

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♪ With 10,000 people watching

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♪ But we're alone now

♪ And I'm singing this song to you ♪

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♪ I know your image of me

♪ Is what I hoped to be

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♪ I treated you unkindly

♪ But, darling, can't you see? ♪

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♪ There's no one more important to me ♪

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♪ Baby, can't you see through me? ♪

♪ 'Cause we're alone now

♪ And I'm singing this song to you ♪

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♪ You taught me precious secrets ♪

♪ Of a true love

♪ Withholding nothin'

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♪ You came out in front

♪ When I was hidin'

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♪ But now I'm so much better

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♪ And if my words don't come together ♪

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♪ Listen to the melody

♪ 'Cause my love is in there hidin' ♪

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♪ I love you in a place

♪ Where there's no space or time ♪

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♪ I love you for my life

♪ You're a friend of mine

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♪ And when my life is over

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♪ Remember when we were together ♪

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♪ We were alone

♪ And I was singin' this song to you ♪

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♪ I love you in a place

♪ Where there's no space or time ♪

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♪ I love you for my life

♪ You're a friend of mine

♪ And when my life is over

♪ Remember when we were together ♪

♪ We were alone, and I was singin' this song to you ♪

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♪ We were alone

♪ And I was singin' this song to you ♪

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♪ We were alone, and I was singin' this song ♪

♪ Mm-mm-mm-hmm

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♪ Singin' this song

♪ To yo-o-o-o-o-o-u-u-u-u-u-u

♪ To yo-o-o-o-o-o-u-u-u-u-u-u

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♪ Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooh

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♪ Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooh

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♪ Come Sunday

♪ Oh, come Sunday

♪ That's the day

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♪ Lord, dear Lord above

♪ God almighty

♪ God of lo-o-o-o-o-o-ve

♪ Please look down

♪ And see my people

♪ Thro-o-o-o-o-o-o-ugh

♪ Lord, dear Lord above

♪ God almighty

♪ God of lo-o-o-o-o-o-ve

♪ Please look down

♪ And see my people

♪ Thro-o-o-o-o-o-ugh

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♪ I believe that God put sun and moon ♪

♪ Up in the sky

♪ I don't mind the gray skies

♪ 'Cause they're just clouds passing by ♪

♪ Lord, dear Lord above

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♪ God almighty

♪ God of lo-o-o-o-o-o-ve

♪ Please look down

♪ And see my people

♪ Thro-o-o-o-o-o-o-ugh

♪ I believe God is now, was then ♪

♪ And always will be

♪ With God's blessings

♪ We can make it through

♪ Eternity-y-y-y-y-y

♪ Oh, Lord

♪ Dear Lord above

♪ God almighty

♪ Go-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-d

♪ Of lo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ve

♪ Please look down

♪ And see my people

♪ Thro-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ugh

♪ Thro-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ugh

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The time now not for speech,

just to repeat the sacred call of our God,

to ask mighty Allah to shower our planet with mercy,

with blessing,

to ask him, almighty Allah,

to take the responsibility of

taking away all evil forces

and seed and plant the mercy

and the goodness in our hearts --

the sacred call to Allah.

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[ Singing in foreign language ]

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Abdur-Rashid: [ Speaking foreign language ]

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[ Speaking foreign language ]

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A message and a citation

from The Holy Koran for all mankind,

who has no differentiation

between all of the messengers of Allah.

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[ Singing in foreign language ]

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[ Speaking foreign language ]

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This is a time for strengthening our faith,

opening our hearts,

and turning to the creator of the heavens and the Earth

and all in between in humility and supplication.

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Thus we read the translation of the last two verses

from Surah Al-Baqarah in the Koran.

"The apostle believes that what has been revealed to him

from his Lord as do those of faith.

Each one of them believes in Allah,

His angels, His books, and His apostles.

'We make no distinction,' they say,

between one and another of His apostles,' and they say,

'We hear, and we obey. We seek your forgiveness, our Lord,

and to you is the end of all journeys.'

On no soul does God,

does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear.

It gets every good that it earns,

and it suffers every ill that it earns.

Therefore, pray, our Lord,

condemn us not if we forget or fall into error.

Our Lord lay not on us a burden

like that which Thou didst lay on those before us.

Our Lord lay not on us a burden greater

than we have the strength to bear.

Blot out our sins and grant us forgiveness.

Have mercy on us.

You are our protector.

Help us against those who stand against faith.

Surely, Allah has spoken the truth,

and here endeth the reading."

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My friends, we have been shaken...

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...the foundations of our pride and security as a nation shaken.

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We all know what it means now

to experience post-traumatic stress disorder.

We are not yet even sure that we are prepared to imagine

what the steps must be from this point.

One thing is certain.

Whether or not we are a very strong emotional health

or a fragile emotional temperament,

we're going to need strength.

There are three sources of strength available

to each one of us, our brothers and sisters here,

across this nation, and around the world.

The first source of strength is the body.

God has built this body so that it has a wisdom

about leading us through grief and loss,

learning out of the body how to cope with disaster,

how to adjust, rearrange, and come back strong

just as teeth that fall in early childhood

are followed by new teeth, so the teeth, the Twin Towers,

knocked from the skyline of New York City

and the block taken away from the Pentagon,

there will be teeth again,

either by natural growth or by implants,

so I urge each of you.

Take time wherever you are across this country.

Listen to your body.

It's going to take time.

We will need patience,

but the body knows how to bring us through,

but also, another source is our faith.

It does not matter which of the traditions you come from.

In those traditions, there is a spiritual reserve

made especially for times like these.

If you will plug into that spirit,

you can draw strength, forgiveness,

fresh understanding, new guidance, vigilance,

and possibility of a new Earth

built together in spiritual renewal

is great hope for our city.

Then there is another source of strength.

It is each tradition coming together.

Community together is a hidden strength

we do not always call upon,

but in times like these, we need to respect one another.

We need to join with one another.

We need to pray with one another

in order that we may discern a path

that leads us to a more hopeful future

than the misery and dread,

suffering death of the last few days.

Brothers and sisters, let me say to you, it's in there.

Strength is here.

It's in our faith.

It's in our collectivity of faith,

traditions, and aspects of the community --

religious leaders, artists together.

If we bring it together, we'll be able to make it through

until a brighter day has come, so let me ask you to do this.

Tomorrow morning when you wake up,

get up and say, "Good morning," to the body.

Thank it for bringing you through the night.

Then say your prayers.

Even if you can't speak, then choreograph a prayer.

Heaven is equipped to interpret choreographed prayer.

And if you have to moan or groan and ask God's blessings,

it will be received,

and after you get off your knees,

do like I plan to do.

Go to the shower,

get yourself together,

and see if you can capture the spirit of my shower song,

which goes something like this.

I'm going to take heart and get moving

though the clouds hang heavy and gray.

If I wait for blue-skied perfection,

I'll be waiting till Judgment Day.

Why let myself be held hostage,

trapped and blocked by who knows what?

Will standing still in sinking sand reverse my fate?

Certainly not.

I'm going to break out and risk loving

though the reasons to wait still abound.

I will do what I can in the climate of now

till better days roll around.

And just with the prospect of one more day,

I'll celebrate that day.

So I say to you, my friends, take heart and get moving,

and let your spirit celebrate for every minute,

every hour, every day of life, hope and strength

and the capacity to serve love and justice and peace,

that's a day to celebrate.

See you in the morning.

[ Laughter ]

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[ Breathes deeply ]

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♪ Amazing grace

♪ How sweet the sound

♪ That saved a wretch like me

♪ I once was lost

♪ But now am found

♪ Was blind but now I see

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♪ 'Tis grace that made

♪ Our hearts to fear

♪ And grace our fears relieved

♪ How precious

♪ Did that grace appear

♪ The hour

♪ We first believed

♪ Through many dangers, toils, and snares ♪

♪ We have already come

♪ 'Tis grace

♪ That brought us safe

♪ Thus far

♪ And grace

♪ Will lead us

♪ Ho-o-o-o-o-me

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♪ Shall we gather by the river ♪

♪ Where bright angels' feet have trod ♪

♪ With its crystal tide forever ♪

♪ Flowing by the throne of God ♪

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♪ Yes, we'll gather by the river ♪

♪ The beautiful, the beautiful river ♪

♪ Gather with the saints by the river ♪

♪ That flows

♪ By the throne of God

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♪ Soon, we'll reach the shining river ♪

♪ Soon, our pilgrimage will cease ♪

♪ Soon, our happy hearts will quiver ♪

♪ With the melody of peace

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♪ Yes, we'll gather by the river ♪

♪ The beautiful, the beautiful river ♪

♪ Gather with the saints by the river ♪

♪ That flows by the throne of God ♪

♪ That flows by the throne

♪ Of Go-o-o-o-o-o-o-d

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My friends, we have been together this afternoon.

Let us stay together in hope, in respect, in love,

and work together for building a better world.

I now invite the artists who have met with us today

by the river and my colleagues of faith

from the various traditions to come now

and let us sing a song that is a song of faith

and hope and trust that our beautiful America

will indeed be blessed by God.

You will share with us in this moment of hope together,

"America the Beautiful."

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♪ Oh, beautiful for spacious skies ♪

♪ For amber waves of grain

♪ For purple mountain majesties ♪

♪ Above the fruited plain

♪ America

♪ America

♪ God shed His grace on thee

♪ And crown thy good

♪ With brotherhood

♪ From sea to shining sea

♪ Oh, beautiful for pilgrim feet ♪

♪ Whose stern, impassioned stress ♪

♪ A thoroughfare of freedom beat ♪

♪ Across the wilderness

♪ America

♪ America

♪ God mend thine every flaw

♪ Confirm thy soul in self-control ♪

♪ Thy liberty

♪ In law

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