We have never in our lifetimes witnessed so many public tears from one end of our nation to the other as we have toward the end of 2008. These were not tears of grief, but tears of joy … and disbelief. Almost everyone had trouble processing what we had experienced on Nov. 4, 2008. It was all at once a moment of divine wonder and living poetry.
Forty year’s prior, Dr. King was assassinated, but before that fateful day he gave his “I Have A Dream” speech in 1963. It was 55 years ago that Emmett Till was murdered, and nearly 100 years since the founding of NAACP, in addition to 145 years since the Emancipation Proclamation. After such triumphs and tribulations, on Jan. 20, 2009, the first African-American family will walk through the front doors of the White House as president, First Lady and children-a mansion whose walls were built by African slaves.
The triumph of a people and nation was seen when President-elect Barack Obama won states in every region on the country, including Virginia, the capital of the Confederacy in the old South. Only an all-powerful and 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. In less than three weeks, the White House will become the home of descendents of the slaves who built it. Make no mistake about it, the whole world has watched in wonder at 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 a new building.
The house of God is actually never a physical building. It is a spiritual house comprised 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, 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 an unparalleled economic meltdown, wars and rumors of war, 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 expand the promise of America. We must be inspired to be our best selves, bound together to overcome the worst of times.
During the time when the church endured persecution, Apostle Peter wrote that the church “house,” or any household, is healthy when the family lives by at least three values: transparency, maturity, and mutual sacrifices. 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 maturity by seeing our successes and failures in light of God’s word and graciousness. Truth is altogether sobering, equalizing, and satisfying. Scriptures helps us process our failures while also putting our successes in proper perspective. Thirdly, we are all ultimately called to function selflessly, 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 in our household 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 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 encouraged to keep on building God’s Kingdom in the earth.
Let’s celebrate and then get back to the unfinished work.