Based on Based on Amos 5:18-24
I’m writing this week’s Meditation in the first week of Black History Month 2018. People across the nation will celebrate the month by wearing African garb, holding Black History Bowls, lectures, film screenings and feasts to celebrate the history and accomplishments of Americans of African descent.
I fully support and join in those celebrations, but I find it to be ironic that those who celebrate black history in February – the shortest month of the year – sometimes pack up their Kente clothing and their culture when the month ends.
Black history is an integral part of American history. It’s also a history that’s best remembered not just by words, but by deeds and that should be passed down from generation to generation. It’s good to talk about what Richard Allen, Jarena Lee, Daniel Hale Williams and Marian Anderson did, but we ought to replicate their work in the present age, for the work goes on.
In a mean-spirited America with a White House resident who panders to racists, with a Congress that seeks to roll back the clock of progress and with many citizens now feeling free to exercise their bigotry, the work goes on.
Remember that as you celebrate Black History month. God’s prophets and God’s Son were critical of “holy” people who loved to talk about the accomplishments of their ancestors in the faith but who did little to practice their faith or to reach out to the downtrodden in their time. God’s Biblical servants made it plain, as James the writer said, that we are to be “doers” of God’s Word and not just hearers.
Do more this Black History Month than celebrate history while you look out for self. Let the God Who carried God’s people through American slavery and Jim Crow segregation use you to make history. Whether through your house of faith, through venerable institution like the NAACP or through newer movements like Black Lives Matter, let God use you.
Be God’s instrument of truth and justice, speak truth to power – from the streets to the voting booth – and share your faith to bring equity to those who can’t stand up for themselves.
When you do, you’ll practice “good religion,” change lives and change our nation for the better, realize blessings for doing so and walk today in the footsteps of those who first sang, “Before I’ll be a slave I’ll be buried in my grave, and go home to my Lord and be free.”