Day 17: Black History Month

“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.”  John 17:20 NLT

Be Quiet.  Sit still and silent for 4 minutes.  Let your mind be aware that God is present with you. When you get distracted, don’t fight with yourself.  Simply turn your thoughts again to Him.  Imagine the delight your Father feels because you showed-up to be with Him!  Breath slowly and relax.   

Scripture.  John 17:20-21 NLT.    “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.  I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.” 

Meditation.  In my mind, The Diving Deep: Moving from Shallow Christianity to Deep Christianity series would miss the mark without recognizing February as Black History Month.  Here’s a bit of its history.  The originator was Carter G. Woodson, the son of former slaves and the second Black person to receive a doctorate from Harvard.  He wanted the narrative of American History to appropriately include the contributions of Black Americans.  So, he initiated an observance for one week in the month of February, a symbol of the birth month of President Abraham Lincoln (who signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing many enslaved people) and Frederick Douglass (an abolitionist and formerly enslaved man).  By 1976 President Gerald Ford urged Americans to celebrate February as Black History Month, then President Jimmy Carter officially recognized it in 1978 as a regular event for American schools.    

There’s a deeper history to be remembered, one that sourced the dreams of enslaved black people during the 18th and 19th centuries.  Having been trafficked or born into American chattel slavery, they embraced their white owners’ Christian religion and harnessed it for hope.  Moses leading the Israelites out of slavery from Egypt, and Joshua guiding them across the Jordan River into the Promised Land provided deep inspiration to the enslaved Black people.  Their shared suffering, spiritual songs and faith in God moved their pursuit of freedom through numerous decades of traumatic injustice.  

Here we are in February 2022.  Race-based division abides in our nation.  Equality under the legal, political, economic, educational, and health care systems remains a partially fulfilled dream for Black people.  What if progress toward repair were found in answer to Christ’s intercession for all believers: “I pray that they will all be one, just as You and I are one…”?     

Question to Ponder. What transformative impact might it have on American culture if various ethnicities sought oneness? 

Connect with God.  LORD, have I ignored my own racism and complicit support of unjust systems?  Search me and have mercy on me.  Do not let me be paralyzed in my shame or the grace which saves me. Instead, open my heart and catalyze my prayers.  Through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, our world is redeemed. You have promised that justice will roll down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream (Amos 5:24). God, guide me to others who want to open the floodgates!  Shine your light on the path where You are advancing oneness in my church, my city, and this nation. For Christ’s sake I pray.   

Connect with Others.  Seek out a ministry pursuing reconciliation and collaboration between Black and White people.  Find ways you can be involved.