With all of the ceremonies commemorating important moments in history such as the March on Washington and the four little girls who died in the bombing of Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, I find myself a bit annoyed but in a reflective mood. I’ve reflected on two things: 1. how far we have(n’t) come and 2. the people who came way before me that never had an opportunity to see this “promised” land.
Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho. There the Lord showed him the whole land—from Gilead to Dan, all of Naphtali, the territory of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Mediterranean Sea, the Negev and the whole region from the Valley of Jericho, the City of Palms,as far as Zoar. Then the Lord said to him, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not crossover into it.” (Deuteronomy 34: 1-4 KJV)
Imagine that! Moses, who went through the trouble of rescuing and leading the Hebrews out of Egypt, wouldn’t get to enjoy the Promised Land. I am sure that Moses was disappointed because who doesn’t hope that one day they can enjoy the fruits of their labor. The Hebrews were enslaved to the Egyptians and Moses was the one (under God’s instruction) who finally helped them obtain freedom.
This story resembles the story of my ancestors. Before there was a Martin Luther King Jr., four little girls, or Rosa Parks there were people who actually endured slavery and worked to bring it to an end. Throughout the hundreds of years of slavery, there were planned and actual slave revolts by people such as Denmark Vesey, Gabrielle Prosser, and Nat Turner. And let’s not forget the the most successful slave revolt (the Haitian Revolution) lead by Toussaint Louverture which ended in Haiti’s independence.
I am recalling these events, not as a history lesson, but as a reminder that many people set the stage to bring slavery to an end and to later gain civil rights; yet, many of them would not live to see that dream come to fruition. For generations, there were incremental steps made on the journey; however, they never reached “this” promised land. This brings me to my first thought and begs the question, are we there yet? Is this the promised land? Is this what my ancestors dreamed about? Is this the freedom they envisioned?
Although we are obtaining degrees, the head of corporate boardrooms and holding political seats, African-Americans still make up the majority of the prison population, lag behind in education and face persistent poverty. We may not be in physical slavery but the conditions that we live in let us know that this is not the promised land. We (and I am speaking collectively) are still in bondage. The problem that I have had with many of the “ceremonies” is that many of them were celebrations as if we have arrived.
Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked. (Psalms 82:3-4 KJV)
As we endure unjust laws and all of the isms (racism, classism and sexism), we know that there is much more work to be done. We have to be like the generation of Moses and that of our ancestors. It is time to roll up our sleeves and work. We can’t rest in the wilderness when somewhere out there is a land flowing with milk and honey. Think about what your contribution will be to get the next generation to the promised land.
I am grateful for how far You have brought us. I am thankful for those who have come before us and made great strides so that we can enjoy the freedoms of today; however, I acknowledge that globally there is widespread suffering. There are people who are oppressed and lack the basics of food, water and shelter. There are also people who lack equal access to justice, education and resources that would lead them out of poverty. I pray that You give each of us a mind to continue the work and take this generation further on the journey to the promised land. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
I EMPOWER you to contribute. Think about what the promised land means to you and your future descendants. Is this the world that you want them to live in? What are you doing to ensure that this world is a better place for them? If this is not the promised land, do something to make it so.
What is your contribution on the journey to the promised land?
Ms. Chancee` Lundy lives in Washington, DC and is an entrepreneur as she is the co-owner of Nspiregreen, LLC, an environmental consulting firm. She is also a dedicated daughter, sister, friend and community servant. She has used her gift of public speaking to lead workshops across the globe speaking to crowds as large as 10,000 people. Her guiding scriptures this week are Philippians 4:11-13 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me.”