Summary: This sermon is written in honor of Black History Month. Not only do we look at how important our history is, but we are also challenged to look at how we as black/African Americans have always been central to God’s story.
What About His-story?
Back in the days of steam ships, only rich white people sailed at sea. One day while sailing, something suddenly happened to the ship and it was about to sink. Terrified, the white folks aboard didn’t know what to do. Someone suggested that they do what the black folks did------PRAY.
However, unfortunately, no one knew what to say. So they called upon John, a black cook on the ship and asked him to pray. John agreed and came up on deck to pray. He started like this: “Lord on the day of hunger I went to a restaurant to get something to eat and the sign said: For Whites Only. I went to the water fountain to get water and the sign said: For Whites Only. Then Lord, I went to use the restroom and the sign said: For Whites Only. So Lord Almighty, forgive me because I know this isn’t Christian, but when this ship… sinks, let it be: For Whites Folks Only…. In Jesus Name I Pray, AMEN!!!
Funny Story, but if you lived in the day when there was segregation everywhere you know what its’ like to go to a restaurant and see a sign that says For Whites Only. Or what its like to be thirsty and you see a water fountain in sight, but the sign above it reads: For Whites Only. You know what its like to have to go to restroom really bad, but the sign above the restroom reads For Whites Only. Or you’re catching the bus, knowing the humiliation of having to walk all the way to the back of the bus, because the front is For Whites Only. (Unwritten signs today)!
For us as black (African Americans) people, this type of racism, oppression, and pain has been a part of our history. There are not only trials and challenges in our history, but there is a part of our history that is most overlooked. That part where we have been victors over our oppressors, creators of great inventions, and the courageous role models who were the first to make it into pro sports, political offices, and court houses. There is greatness in our history! I want to propose today that we as black people have not only been central to what we would label as black history, but we have always been an important part of “His”(God) story. Lets Pray!
(Begin story) One day I was out in the community around New Life Fellowship reaching out to people, inviting them to church, and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. I came to this one ladies house, knocked on the door and a middle aged black woman answered the door. I introduced myself, invited her to come to church, and handed her a pamphlet. I then told her that Jesus loves her and her response caught my attention. She said, “Your God is a white God and my God is black!” I then proceeded to challenge her thinking and this led to an interesting conversation in which she did respond positively by saying she had never heard some of things in which I presented about Christ and the Bible (End Story).
Your God is a white God and my God is black!” Very powerful words! At the heart of this is a lack of understanding, but at the same time I understand why one could be short of understanding. There has been a lot of bad information or lack of information concerning our history as black people. We have believed lies about our heritage, lies about our history, lies about the Bible, and even lies about God.
I want you to think for a moment about black history, what first comes to mind? Do you think of slavery? Do you think of the great African Civilizations? Do you think about great civil rights leaders? Do you think of great black athletes who were the first to break into pro sports? What comes to mind when you think of black history?
The thoughts previously stated concerning our history are all good, but I would like to take us back even further than this. It must be mentioned that I am not looking over the fact that we as black people have had some moments in history that need to be told like the fact that 5,000 black soldiers that fought in the American Army in the Revolutionary War. Not to mention the 185,000 black soldiers fought in the Union Army in the Civil War (tell me that a black person should have been treated unjustly or unfairly in this country after we have laid our lives down for this country). Did you know the founder of Chicago, Illinois was a free black man named Jean Baptise Point DuSable (name)? The first black to receive a major government appointment was Frederick Douglas. Mary Mcleod Bethune was the first black woman to receive a major government appointment. The first black to join the major leagues in modern times was Jackie Robinson who joined the Brooklyn, Dodgers in 1947. The first black newspaper was called the Freedom’s Journal. We as blacks have a history of great inventors, athletes, and leaders. We cannot forget to mention all those who endured and suffered through slavery and the many who had enough courage revolt against such an atrocity to mankind. Also the many civil rights leaders who sacrificed even their own lives so that those of us who followed would have opportunities that they didn’t get a chance to get. Lets give God some praise for all those who have come before us who have made it possible for us to be where we are today. The reason we can live in a certain neighborhood, the type of schools we go to, going to college, being a part of athletic teams, even going to restaurants.