Let Your Light Shine, Through the Darkness of a Wounded World!

February is Black History Month. It is a reminder that we need to be awake and alert to the reality and truth of our past that we might face the darkness of our current day and bring forth light for our tomorrow. The struggle, the pain and the triumph of our history is just that ours! Ours meaning us as a nation not just a race. Black History is American history and it cannot be conveniently set aside and legislated away.

We must rise out of the darkness of ignorance and oppression and rise to be instruments of knowledge and justice. The Word of God as we open Black History month speaks to the reality that we must speak with conviction and strength having with us, “the Spirit and Power of God.” 1Cor. 2:3. Let us see in the Word this week a call to justice and and a determination to be the light in a world wounded and plagued by darkness.

Let’s get to it. In Isaiah 58:7 we hear:

Share your bread with the hungry,
shelter the oppressed and the homeless;
clothe the naked when you see them,
and do not turn your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,

I invite us to see from this prophetic word of Isaiah a deeper calling. Yes, at the first glance we are called to provide for and respond to the plight of those in our midst who have no food to eat and cannot get daily sustenance. But sharing our bread with the hungry goes deeper. The cries that come to us from Memphis, Los Angeles, New Mexico and right here in Lakeland Florida are calling us to respond to the hunger for justice, the hunger for meaning, the hunger for the dignity of persons. Our nation and our world hungers deeply and groans with hunger pains because we have sought to ignore and wash our hands of their circumstance. As we see a governor repeatedly regard the African American experience, context and struggle as meaningless, worthless and not worthy of acknowledgement. To mention contributions of African Americans no mater their situation or condition or state in life, if deemed embarrassing, undignified and outright unacceptable it is therefore criminal. We have descended to the abyss of intolerance and indifference.

What is the bread that can be shared to feed and bring nourishment? The bread of truth, that is knowledge, the bread that is information and understanding is how we feed those who hunger. With conviction and power we speak and stand against intolerance. Do not back down or back off. Truth can hurt yes, but it can also heal. Truth can seem to be divisive, but with healing it can reunite and bring new life and new meaning. We must not cower away from the truth of our History as a nation, but rather know it and be fed by it to bring about understanding and shared knowledge of our common experience.

To clothe the naked requires a process of valuing. To value, acknowledge and give validity to us as a people. The acknowledgement of the oppression, dishonor, disrespect and degradation is to see that our experience is worthy of learning and understanding even if it is ugly and shameful. Because the ability of those who have overcome their dark past now becomes a source of light and hope that is a source of strength for tomorrow. That is to say, to go back and get our past, reclaim and hold dear as ours in actuality can shape us for a future filled with hope and determination and faith.

As a nation we cannot only share and embrace those elements of our past that are considered as acceptable but rather the totality of our experience serves to remove the darkness that overshadows us as a nation. In seeking to hide the truth of our journey we deny the ability of that very history to raise us beyond the limits of the past that can in-turn open us to new a new light of understanding. God can demonstrate His power over our lives and even over our History to bring us to greater understanding and wisdom. Fear is what holds us back as a nation. We cannot be afraid of the truth, the desire to protect ourselves or our children from the truth of our past does more harm and no real good.

We are invited by Christ to be both Light and Salt to a world that is wounded by darkness and has lost its savor and flavor. I shared this for our youth and it is again appreciate here.

The message of God’s Word is clear. Each of us must be that light that is needed to brighten the darkness of ignorance, prejudice and fear. Being Light says that seeing the shadows of the dark past of our nation is not meant to shame and degrade, but rather is gives way to a dawning that comes from awareness. Awareness is the starting point for change that leads to transformation, healing and wholeness. What we see and hear from the voices and messaging of fear seeks to extinguish the light of knowledge, suffocate the illumination of truth and keep us wounded in darkness without brightness to give us hope.

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