By Pastor Anthony Scott
“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug.” (Isaiah 51:1)
“But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings,” (Hebrews 10:32)
“Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Any Black History Month Observance should be held with the following purpose in mind, assisting those of African descent in this country to ever keep their past and present in healthy balance along with inspiring those same people towards a hope filled future.
Throughout the Bible, God continually called His people to times of remembering, recalling, and reflecting over His moving in their lives. God regularly sent the prophets to remind His people of their covenant responsibilities. The feasts of Israel were instituted so they would relive and ponder their past. In fact, these annual celebrations were to be perpetual and ongoing from one generation to the next.
In our society, February has been designated as Black History Month. This acknowledgment is significant as long as we realize we cannot adequately celebrate hundreds of years of history in one month’s observance. There should be a yearly celebration with various emphases on our contributions in this country.
One of the primary areas of emphasis should be on the Black Church. An overview of the historical roots of the Black Church in America should be both read and studied. In doing so, our contributions to theology, styles of worship, along with the role of clergy and the church in social justice, advocacy, and education will resound loudly in the pages of history.
Another area of reflection should center on Black Music. An historic look at black music, and particularly Black Church music, i.e. Negro spirituals, gospel, metered hymns, and congregational singing should be presented. Our music should be discussed not just as an art form but as a survival form. These are songs of protest, songs of rebellion, songs of a people’s history, songs of hope, and songs of a better day.
Also included must be an aspect on the Black Family. Much has been written and said about our families. In our national observances we need an intergenerational discussion on the state of our families. Older families, grand-parents, new parents, and single households can share their perspective on Black Family life with the agreed upon goal of restoring its former glory.
Finally, there should be some reflection on Black Community Involvement. We have always been community activists. We have made tremendous and transforming contributions in the areas of politics, education, economics, medicine, law, performing arts, and a variety of other professions.
Let this month, and every time we gather, be a time to acknowledge God’s greatness and graciousness in the lives of a people who have come over a way that with tears has been watered.
Lift Every Voice and Sing,