"It is amazing where destiny will take us when we rise to offer our dreams, gifts, and talents to the call and the timing of God," said my brother, Larry Duncan, in a text message he sent me during the inaugural address.
His words resonated as I listened to the sacred music and words during the Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service.
It is indeed fitting that President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama began their four years in the White House in God's house Wednesday.
Few places of worship illustrate the majesty implied by those words more than the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter & Saint Paul, the Episcopalian church simply known as the National Cathedral.
Many presidents before Obama, who is not Episcopalian, also went to hear clergy from different faiths offer up prayers at the dawn of a new administration.
And the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preached a sermon from this very place the Sunday before his fateful journey to Memphis.
Despite dancing at 10 balls and hosting a late-night soiree at the White House, Obama and his wife were in their seats promptly at 10 a.m. as a new group of ministers prayed their most noble prayers.
"On this day of new beginnings, with hearts lifted high in hope, may we be a people of peace among ourselves and a blessing to other nations," prayed Dr. Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America.
"May the president, vice president, members of the Cabinet, governors of states and territories, mayors of cities, and all in administrative authority who are empowered by our sacred trust lead this nation with wisdom and grace as they seek the common good," prayed Rabbi Haskel Lookstein of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, New York.
Inspiration for young people
In all, 20 clergy, including eight women, participated in the prayer service, which lasted about 1½ hours.
"The best is yet to come" and "A Brand New Day," sung by the Children of the Gospel Choir of the Washington Performing Arts Society, conveyed the joy of the occasion.
Hopes for the Obama administration are high, not only when it comes to fixing the economy and stemming the job losses that have dampened the spirits of so many Americans.
But there are hopes, especially among African Americans, that the image of the glamorous, successful couple will inspire members of the next generation to achieve their personal best.
"Sometimes a lot of things can happen in life that indirectly affects different things," noted Les Coney, the executive vice president of Mesirow Financial who was a member of the Obama campaign finance committee.
"Obama's presidency will allow more African Americans individually to step up and be responsible," Coney said.
"Maybe the young kid who wears his pants below his waist, maybe now he might say I want to be like Barack and he doesn't wear his pants like that. Or maybe a guy who is married sees that Barack take his wife out on date nights, and thinks when was the last time I've taken my wife out on a date," Coney said.
During a beautiful rendition of "Amazing Grace," sung by Wintley Phipps, president of the U.S. Dream Academy in Columbia, Md., Obama closed his eyes and nodded his head to the rhythm of the stirring gospel.
This is a man who seems to understand that with great power comes the weight of great responsibility.
President Obama and first lady Michelle have heeded the call.
In so doing, they set an example we all can follow.