We have never in our lifetimes witnessed so many public tears from one end of our nation to the other as we have recently. These were not tears of grief, but tears of joy-and disbelief. Almost everyone had trouble processing what we were experiencing. It was all at once a moment of divine wonder and living poetry.
Forty years after Dr. King’s assassination and 45 years after “I Have a Dream,” 55 years after the murder of Emmitt Till, nearly 100 years since the founding of NAACP, and 145 years since the Emancipation Proclamation, the first African American family will walk through the front doors of a White House mansion whose steps were built by African slaves. The triumph of a people and nation was seen in that President-elect Barrack Obama won states in every region, including Virginia, the capital of the confederacy. Only an all powerful, just God has the ability to create such drama in real life. It is the parting of the Red Sea and the falling walls of Jericho in our lifetimes. The White House will become the home of descendents of the slaves who built it. Make no mistake about it, the whole world watches in wonder of this contemporary epic of biblical proportions. Christ’s testimony in the earth demonstrates that God still uses rejected stories to become the chief corner stone of new building.
The house of God is actually never a physical building. It is a spiritual house made of people who God purposely fits together by His Spirit in specific places and points of time. The Father builds His household in the world by using people as living stones. People are God’s project. God calls us to finish making the rooms on the solid foundation of Gospel truth. Our work in the world is God’s continuing, but unfinished project.
After the Jan. 20, 2009 inauguration, when the euphoria fades and President Obama and First Lady Michelle move into the White House, our nation and world will face crises of epic proportions. We face unparalleled economic meltdown, inequalities and insecurity, wars and rumors of war, climate change, and high expectations and depleted resources. The new president’s task will be to call for sacrifice and renewal of vision. He will challenge the nation to see itself as one household working together to preserve and expand the promise of America. We must be inspired to be our best selves bound together to overcome the worst of times.
Apostle Peter wrote, as the church endured persecution, that the church house or any household is healthy and enduring when the family lives by at least three values: transparency, maturity and mutual sacrifices (1 Peter 2:1-5). First, transparency is exhorted. A healthy family cannot flourish behind false faces with hidden agendas. We are called to be true to ourselves and one another. Secondly, we move into growth and maturity by seeing our successes and failures in light of God’s word and graciousness. Truth is altogether sobering, equalizing and satisfying. Scripture helps us process our failures and put our successes in proper perspective. Only by the nurturing of truth are we fit to live with. Without the word of truth cleansing us we are quite toxic. Thirdly, we are all ultimately called to function as selfless priest, offering ourselves to serve God by ministering unto the needs of others.
The foundation of God’s house is firmly built upon the truth of the Gospel; but the project of expanding the rooms for all God’s children continues. Whenever African-Americans celebrate another “first,” it has the effect of making more room for all people. That’s the real God-given legacy of black people in America. The amazing “first” black first-family of America is a dream most of us thought we would never see in our lifetime. But here it is. Know this however, whenever God allows dreams to become reality, it means it’s time for God’s people to be in awe and encouraged to keep on working and building God’s kingdom in the earth. Let’s celebrate and then get back to the unfinished work.