"The thing that moved me more than anything else was when Barack and Michelle and Sasha and Malia walked out on that stage Election Night as a family," he said. "What a grand impactful message that should send to black families, that we need a renewal of the dynamics of family in the black community. ... So, strengthening the family, I hope will become the message of change and the great impact of his election, in America, in the black community. If it does, I'll shout Hallelujah from heaven after I'm long gone."
The president-elect called on the nation to honor King today by acts of service, but Lowery said that alone is not enough.
"I don't want us to stop there," he said. "We do a disservice to Martin if we simply see him as an agent of social service. He was that, but he was also an agent of social change. And it's nice to help old ladies cross the street in memory of Martin, but to complete the task let's see if the streets are paved where she lives, in the poor neighborhood. Martin would be very concerned about that, to see if her Social Security and her health care are in order and adequate.
"I think social change must not be left out of celebrating Martin Luther King's birthday. He was not a glorified social worker. He was a non-violent militant, a Christian activist. Martin would not be happy if we honor the missionary and dishonor the mission."
Lowery is only allotted two minutes to speak at the swearing-in, and said that he's thrown out a few drafts of his remarks already. "Hopefully, the Lord will give me the edited verse," he said.
"I think I want to call people to move from ceremony to sacrament. Ceremonies end with the benediction; sacraments begin with the benediction. And I'd like to see America take that spirit of solidarity that I think would be so prevalent at the ceremony, just take it back to our homes and our churches and our workplace and our mosque and our temples, and translate it into behavior and attitudes and values and support the president in a very difficult time.
"And I'm going to ask God to help restore our stability and to work through our leadership, to mend our brokenness and heal our wounds. I think that's my job. I hope I can do it in two minutes."