While the Beltway establishment gathered on the U.S. Capitol's West side with legions of Middle Americans in "Make America Great Again" hats, the House of Representatives approved the final pre-inauguration details.
The quick session opened with a prayer by the chaplain, Father Patrick J. Conroy.
"God of the universe, we give you thanks for giving us another day. You are the father of us all, and your divine providence has led this nation in the past," he said, before offering prayers for "your servant, Donald Trump." The Jesuit prayed for the new president to "see things as you see things" and strive to hold "all of us to higher standards of equal justice, true goodness and peaceful union."
Conroy closed with a poignant prayer for the blunt and ever-controversial New York City billionaire: "We pray that he become his best self."
Add that to the file of January 20 prayers to analyze.
As always with inauguration ceremonies -- the high-church rites of American civil religion -- references to God were almost as common as those to the nation's new leader. This ceremony included six clergy offering their own chosen prayers and scriptures and was framed by private and public worship services.
Journalists and activists then read between the lines seeking messages aimed at Trump and his fans, as well as at God. The bottom line: In cyberspace, combatants now "subtweet" their adversaries, offering subtle criticisms behind their social-media backs. This inauguration offered plenty of opportunities for participants to engage in some theological subtweeting. The eyebrow-raising messages included: