|"How can I sing the songs of the|
Lord while in a foreign land?
Well, I'm still here. New classes are steadily being added to my study curriculum and I'm getting a REAL education!
First, let's not get distracted. There's a lot going on right now but this virus has not gone anywhere! News of it just shifts in importance from time to time in our purview. Right now it's hot due to a worldwide resurgence!
What is NOT mere distractions, are the daily protests against institutional racism. They persist (as they should) even as proof of injustices is played out daily. Thanks to the world of smart phones and social media, what once was hidden can no longer remain so! The underbelly of America's historical sin patterns are front and center. With every click of the remote control or computer keyboard there is evidence! So here's my dilemma:
HOW DO WE AS CHRISTIANS REMAIN HOPEFUL IN THIS BROKEN WORLD?
I've come to the realization that as a Black. American. Christian. Woman of Age. I must dig deep to find this joy! With each of the above designations comes a bias. I must deal with them constantly. Deal with their impositions as well as their limitations. Without hope, I could easily become joyless and slip into what is described as The Metaphor of Double Consciousness. Noted historian and civil rights activist, W.E.B. Dubois writes:
“It dawned upon me with a certain suddenness that I was different from the others; or like, mayhap, in heart and life and longing, but shut out from their world by a vast veil.”
(W.E. B. Dubois from his book, Souls of Black Folks, 1903)
He was stating a national feeling among Blacks 117 years ago. It still exist today but not just among Blacks but other marginalized groups. This I believe is at the core of modern protests and what a lot of people still don't understand. There's lies the complexities of being black or brown, female, Christian, or seasoned in America...there is a great disconnect!
There are in America, people who just don't fit in! Those who cannot find their place. They are the lumps that didn't get dissolved in the Melting Pot! They work, pay taxes, raise children, and give their lives in defense of this country. They comprise the best and the worst of all human kind but are somehow portrayed as an aberration and NOT worthy of equal respect or opportunities.
If you are familiar with the theological teaching of Imago Dei, (humans are created in the image of God from Genesis 1:27) then you know that this should not be so. Every life has value and purpose. If not, they wouldn't be here. So why do we support and maintain systems and institutions that contradict this?
...WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL?
Those in denial of these truths are quick to say we are not patriotic. We are terrorists or anarchist. We represent a threat to democracy and America's heritage. And yet they expect the marginalized to not only be satisfied with their plight but take off their hats and sing! Sing....The National Anthem, America the Beautiful, The Battle Hymn of the Republic, and God Bless America!
Psalm 137:1-3 says: By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, sing to us one of the songs of Zion!
In verse four, the writer of this psalm asked the question: How can I sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?
The United States of America for People of Color, Christians, and others feels like a foreign land today. Racism, xenophobia, disunity among believers over politics; abuse of Christian liberties and the passing of anti-biblical laws are incompatible with America's inalienable rights (life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness). They are indeed contrary to God's will, word and His heart!
While in Babylonian captivity the Israelites mourned the good ole days back in Jerusalem, where they led an imperfect but comfortable life. Here in the midst of their suffering they are despondent. They feel that joy will never come again. They hung up their harps in hopelessness!
DON'T HANG UP YOUR HARPS TOO SOON!
There are those still among us who are longing for the days of yesteryear. In those days America was Great!? They want creature comforts without consequences; peace without propitiation, and economic restoration without repentance. They gravitate toward a promise that will never be fulfilled and a joy that is temporary and empty!
If we are to sing with truth: God Bless America, land that I love, Stand beside her and guide her through the night with the light from above... we need a Harp and a Sword! We need the LORD guiding us through this present night of turmoil (Psalm 30:5).
The Harp is a symbol of joy, worship and praise to the ONLY God in our lives! Jesus Christ is our only HOPE! (I Peter 1:3-6). The Sword is a symbol of divine chastisement, what I believe we are experiencing today (Deuteronomy 32:25; Psalm 78:62). It also represents the Word of God (Hebrews 4:2; Ephesians 6:17, and Revelation 1:16). This is NOT the time to give up! Not on America and certainly not on yourself!
Pick up your Sword then pick up your Harps!
Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those
who have nothing prepared.
This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of
the Lord is your strength.
UNTIL NEXT TIME...
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