January 28, 2021

12Not that I have already grasped it all or have already become perfect, but I press on if I may also take hold of that for which I was even taken hold of by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12

Perfection. Brokenness. What does this have to do with African American History Month? This year the theme is taken from the church theme, “Uniting through Love and Justice” with the added sub-theme, “Reclaiming Our History.” In our discussion of choosing a sub-theme, I had in mind the accomplishments and contributions of African Americans to our nation’s history. My thinking changed somewhat after hearing this from Amanda Gorman’s amazing inaugural poem, “The Hill We Climb”: “Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed/a nation that isn’t broken/but simply unfinished.” Or as Paul wrote, not “already become perfect.”

In years past, we have said that African American History is American History. The contributions we take a special look at this month is the “unfinished” part of the history of America. It is in our acknowledging the history and part of all the people groups who have had a part in building this nation, will we be able to heal. This reminds me of a recent encounter I had with bringing the significant part Benjamin Banneker had in the planning of the nation’s capital. Banneker did the survey work and L’Enfant was entrusted with the designs. However, when L’Enfant was dismissed, he took all the plans with him. Banneker was able to reproduce the designs from memory in only two days. How much of this is in the history books now I don’t know. What I do know is that our history, American history, is incomplete without the stories of all the players – of all the peoples who have helped to build this nation. Until the stories are more than a footnote, as that of York, we will need to continue these educational emphases.

So, we invite you to join us as we present this year’s activities for African American History Month (details are in this Transmitter and in upcoming the mid-week messages).