When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. When the student is truly ready, the teacher disappears. Whenever we understand what we have been taught, we become teachers. This is the essence of discipleship and the great commission, two inextricably linked responsibilities that Jesus fulfilled and calls us to fulfill.
Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem started with the adoring, cheering crowds on Palm Sunday, who then decried him on Holy Thursday, witnessed His cruel death on the cross. But Holy Week ends with Jesus’ glorious resurrection on Easter Day, which is our hope that the will to love, when empowered by the grace and mercy of God, will always, always, always triumph over fear.
Our reflections on Jesus’ temptations and his responses should lead us to acknowledge that the fulfilment of our human needs is a legitimate pursuit, but not at the expense of others. The best way to do this is to be advocates and active participants in the quest for social justice.
The transfiguration is the literal depiction of how love, personified in Jesus, rises above the limitations of the law, and removes the veil of political correctness, racial tolerance, indifference, race, religion, gender, and all the other things that influence the way we view and treat ‘other’ people. That, dear sisters and brothers in Christ, is the connection between Jesus’ transfiguration and the stories we tell during Black History Month.
Storytelling can be hard. It is uncomfortable to recount the acts of injustice, the cruelty of slavery and the complex issues of race relations. It is important to tell the story of Black people as it is intertwined with the story of all of us here in North America. And yes, telling the story of slavery is still relevant as we are living with the legacy of slavery.
Salvation is as much a private issue as it is a public/social issue. Public issues and social problems require responsible responses from Christians. Encouraging people to shout out about finding Jesus, while decrying the promotion of the anti-Covid-19 vaccine, is in my view, irresponsible evangelism. As Paul teaches in his letter to the church at Corinth, the greater good of society is more important than the individual Christian’s freedom of choice and personal preferences.
The resilience of Black people in their struggle for equal rights and justice is testimony to the faithfulness of God. Black History Month also reminds us of how far Black people have come, taking all Canadians further along the road to a more just society. But the journey is far from being over. Harriet Tubman’s exhortation to fugitive slaves to “keep going,” inspires us all to continue to push forward until all lives matter, until systemic racism is dismantled and until Black History is recognized as integral to the history of all Canadians.
This is the text of my homily delivered at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church, Ottawa in celebration of Black History Month. Bible readings for Epiphany 5, Year A – Isaiah 58:1-12; Psalm 112:1-9; 1 Corinthians 2:1-12; Matthew 5: 13-20 Audio version : Click on February 9 – Black History Month Sunday The four Bible readings thisContinue reading “Salt, Light and Love – Our Common Christian Identity”
It happened in my final year in high school. I was standing at attention during the school’s assembly. Wanting to set a good example, I was following the no talking rule, even though some of my classmates were not. Every now and again, I asked them to be quiet. Being 5 feet 10 inches tall,Continue reading “Forgive. Don’t forget.”
Approximate reading time: 20 minutes The following is the text of a sermon delivered by Camille N. Isaacs-Morell on 19 February 2017 at the Anglican Parish of St. Andrew and St. Mark, Dorval, Québec, Canada. Today we are celebrating Black History Month and the sacrament of Holy Baptism. Both these events cause us to focusContinue reading “Identity, Inclusion and Love – Thoughts on Baptism and Black History Month”