Pondering for Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Readings for Alexander Crummell

Psalm 19:7-11Sirach 39:6–11Mark 4:1-20

“Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain.” (Mark 4:7)

Today, September 10, we remember Alexander Crummell Priest, Missionary, and Educator

“Born March 3, 1819, in New York City, Alexander Crummell struggled against racism all his life. As a young man of color, he was driven out of an academy in New Hampshire, dismissed as a candidate for Holy Orders in New York, and rejected for admittance to General Seminary. Ordained in 1844 as a priest in the Diocese of Massachusetts, he left for England after being excluded from participating in diocesan convention.” (Great Cloud of Witnesses for September 10)

As I have said before, race is a conjured up method for the taking apart of humanity. Race is the thorny sin that Jesus spoke of that chokes us and takes away our ability to produce grains of compassion, respect, love and cross-cultural caring. We are all one species.  It’s always hard for the oppressed group to convince the power group of the wrong they are doing.  The power group will question the rationale for giving up power.  Without empathy it makes no sense. Unless you put yourself in the skin of the other, no matter what shade it is, you will not realize the hardship forced on them because of an outward physical trait that they did not choose.

Culture may have a more significant reason for distinguishing groups of people than what they look like.  One does not choose what they look like.  They do have a decision to stay with, or leave the cultural group that they inherited. To some extent citizens can even choose to switch nationalities. There are some celebrities who have moved their citizenship from American to France.  This is not a judgment on them only an example of the difference between choice and no-choice. Within the no-choice physical appearance of a person are the thorns of social racism that choke out any chance of the “outwardly different” person of living culturally or nationally to their full potential.

Crummell tried hard to make manifest the dignity of the Liberian people of Africa, but in the end it failed. “Crummell’s ministry spanned more than half a century and three continents. Everywhere, at all times, he labored to prepare black people and to build institutions that would serve them and provide scope for the exercises of their gifts in leadership and creativity. His faith in God, his perseverance in spite of repeated discouragement, his perception that the Church transcended the racism and limited vision of its leaders, and his unfailing belief in the goodness and greatness of black people are the legacy of this African American pioneer.” (Great Cloud of Witnesses for September 10)

All of us must work in the garden to clear the thorns of racism and thereby receive the gifts of all the grains.

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through God’s people.  John+

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