Black History Month 2024
Posted by: DVULI | January 30, 2024
Faith and Freedom
by James Quincy (New York 2009)
Each year, as we reflect on the amazing history of African Americans, we are reminded of the importance and role of faith in the movements toward freedom. The concept of freedom is that people can chart their own courses. In fact, we can sometimes idolize democracy as a major construct of our faith. Faith comes with the choice of our will. Faith and freedom are steeped in the African American tradition and come alive in Black History Month. For example, Harriet Tubman led her people and demonstrated what one woman could do when she believed in her call. Her faith drove her to work for freedom. The woven threads of freedom and faith that cemented the legacy of Tubman into our consciousness remain beneficial to our youth today.
Tubman is known as Moses—a biblical reference—which celebrates her leadership of so many, from the slavocracy of the South to the beaming moon over cold Canadian nights. Her commitment to her tasks and her people were extraordinary acts of courage, bravery, strength, and faith—not just faith for the sake of being saved, but faith to live free.
As youth leaders, we can teach faith, encourage faith, and build faith. We often focus on a lack of physical restraints when we think of freedom. Freedom for the enslaved, the lost, and our students is the physical, emotional, and spiritual aim of living free. Living free is not just the ability to do what we want; it is the ability to do without the bondage and baggage of sin.
Often, it is said that slavery is America’s original sin. That may help us understand why Tubman, Mary McLeod Bethune, Sojourner Truth, Phillis Wheatley, and so many others believed it was essential to maintain a commitment to truth and freedom through their faith. The legacy of these women in the history of the African American journey simply reminds us that faith is more about transforming lives than using religion to conform lives.
As we work with the fantastic young people who have experienced so much bondage and trauma that they cannot fathom what freedom really looks or feels like, let us reimagine our responsibilities as a commitment to freedom in Christ rather than a commitment to conforming to the religious traditions of our day. Let us lead a generation of young people to be free from their mistakes, faults, and pasts and seek the freedom that comes from a right relationship with an eternal God. Celebrate Black History by encouraging and lifting a generation of spiritual leaders devoted to God-given liberty. Now is the time for urban youth, particularly girls, to live freely and strive to inherit their God-given freedom to live, serve, and lead.
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