In January, Michelle Obama will leave the White House after eight years as First Lady of the United States. During a political season fraught with racism, sexism, and bipartisan discord, she has risen as a prophetic voice and a beacon of hope for the American people. Republican Matthew Dowd tweeted that her speech at the Democratic convention in July was the “best, most effective speech of the last two weeks and really the season.” Conservative commentator Glenn Beck praised her comments in response to Trump’s actions as “the most effective political speech I have heard since Ronald Reagan.” And CNN called her speech “one of the most effective political speeches of the year.” In the midst of the friction and strife that has been stirred by this campaign season, I’m convinced that she was the right person in the right place at the right time to respond to the needs of the nation.

Although conservatives and liberals in the church have important ideological differences with one another and different views of her party’s political platform, nonetheless we can celebrate Obama as a compassionate servant leader. She has experienced both racism and sexism, and those experiences have prepared her to defend the disenfranchised. As First Lady, she chose to speak up for veterans, to stand with single mothers, to fight for the poor, and to advocate for the needy. Her witness gives me hope that the Christian community will hear the voices of people of color and advocate for issues that affect not only them but all of us in the body of Christ.

Over the years, my appreciation for Obama has grown tremendously. As a black woman, minister, mother, wife, and advocate, I too have had years of ...

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