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.
The shameful history of racism against Black people in the Worldwide Anglican Church is well documented. The Anglican Church was part of the oppressive colonial government institutions and made no attempt prior to the early to mid-19th century to declare abhorrence of slavery and racial discrimination. It was only in 2006, less than 20 years ago, that the Anglican Church through the Archbishop of Canterbury finally faced the truth of its history and issued a formal apology for the role it played in slavery and the consequent oppression of Black people in the Caribbean.
Many of us find it very uncomfortable to listen to the facts and take action to redress racism. Sometimes guilt, pain and personal agendas are involved in the positions taken. Focus on solutions to make the world a better place by providing comfortable spaces for all of us.
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”
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”
Euro-centric interpretations of the Bible have generally failed to acknowledge the presence and role of Black people in the Bible. Christians need to gain an understanding of Black personalities in the Bible and to fully acknowledge their contribution to the spreading of the good news. The account of the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch, anContinue reading “Bible lessons for Black History Month”