By: Lou Yeboah
Why is it, do you think, that we need this constant reinforcement and reminding of the truth? Simply put, as Malcolm X said, “we have been bamboozled, hoodwink, and lead astray. While we may know the truth, we still are bombarded with worldly philosophies everywhere we turn. Make no mistake about it, as the chosen generation, a royal priesthood, our life is one of swimming against the tide. And so, being reminded of the truth is critical. Therefore as Peter said in [2 Peter 1:12-13] “I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder.”
Peter says in this verse that a person may have heard the truth, been established in the truth, but not be stirred by the truth. And that, my friend, is a scary place to be in because it leads to spiritual apathy! We need to remember the importance of what we believe. We need to be stirred up, and gripped by the reality of it. History is the study of the human past. The past has left many traditions, folk tales, and works of art, archaeological objects, and books and written records of our accomplishments. Historians have been recording the events of history since the Phoenicians in Africa invented the first alphabet. Until the advent of Black History Month, our school children learned all of their black history when they studied the plight of slavery in the south prior to the Civil War. Very little truth was, and still is contained in our children’s textbooks about the depth of slavery’s pain in America. So it was not a bad idea to set aside one month out of the year to concentrate on setting the record straight. It is about time we taught our own Black children that there is more to our history than our ancestral enslavement. Because, “without history, [there is] no life.” [Nigeria- African Proverb]
I tell you, there is blessing in remembering. There is blessing in remembering that God is with us in our times of pain and sorrow. There is blessing in remembering our loved ones who now stand in the great cloud of witnesses, watching over us and encouraging us to persevere through life’s challenges. There is blessing in remembering our loved ones because it reminds us of who we are. That we are part of something bigger than ourselves; that we can count ourselves among the saints, those holy ones of God, who dwell in heaven and here on earth. Yes, today we remember all of those who helped shape us into who we are, as a nation and as individuals. For our memories are the foundation of all that we see, and taste and hear and experience in this life. I want to remind myself over and over again that Black history is part of my history, is part of what shapes me as the person I am today. I want to dance in the celebration of the liberation stories. I want to cry in the face of the stories of suffering. I want to prepare for the ongoing work because we are far from done with the work we need to do.
In concluding, I quote [Yogacharya Ellen Grace O’Brian]…. “This day I open my heart and my mind with appreciation for my ancestors: my father and grandfathers before me, my mother and grandmothers before me. This day I open my heart and my mind with appreciation for the path of my soul, I honor the paths of my ancestors who journeyed before me. This day I open my heart and my mind with appreciation for the earth. I give thanks for the gift of my body, and rejoice in the opportunity for awakening that it brings. May my spiritual awakening be a cause for celebration in the generations before and after me. Through me, may healing come: in our family, in our community, on our earth, in our world. Peace, Amen”
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friend…. Remembering Jesus and our Ancestors on Valentine’s Day! [John 15:13]. Happy Valentine’s!