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From the desk of the African Descent Coordinator – February 2020

This is what the Lord says:

“A voice is heard in Ramah,
    mourning and great weeping,
Rachel weeping for her children
    and refusing to be comforted,
    because they are no more.”

This is what the Lord says:

“Restrain your voice from weeping
    and your eyes from tears,
for your work will be rewarded,”
declares the Lord.
    “They will return from the land of the enemy.
So there is hope for your descendants,”
declares the Lord.
    “Your children will return to their own land.

 Jeremiah 31:15-17 NIV 

We begin our time of remembrance and celebration of Black History month with sadness as Kobe Bryant joins the ranks of countless African Americans who have had a profound impact on our position, in America. The recent premature deaths of Kobe, Gianna Bryant; John, Keri, Alyssa Altobelli; Sarah & Payton Chester, Christiana Mauser, Ara Zobayan have brought on mourning and weeping among many folk.  

Mourning and weeping is not just a part of our present but also decorates our past. The prophet Jeremiah recorded the above scripture from God’s mouth during a time of deep affliction in northern Israel. Israel was at war and civilian men, women and children had been slaughtered. But to make matters worse, the children left alive were taken away into exile to serve and live with the enemy.  Calling Israel the name “Rachel” symbolized the vulnerability and soul of Israel. Rachel was crying in anguish for her children who were no more and she refused to be comforted. Can you imagine the heartbreak of parents who would never see their children again? Rachel had no hope for the future.  

As African Americans we can easily relate. We have surely had our seasons of mourning and weeping. Black History is about a race of people who have most certainly borne the triplets of painful struggle, humiliating defeat and untimely death. It often seemed as if there was no coming back from that terrible state of affairs. But Black History has another side to it, it is also about hope, healing and success as God worked thru committed individuals and prolific events.   

God heard the mourning and great weeping in Ramah, five miles north of Jerusalem. And the Lord heard our cries in America, over and over again, from the era of slavery through the Jim Crow days. Our God is still listening and acting in the midst of the systemic racism that continues to plague America today. God said Stop your weeping Rachel, dry your tears. Let us always return to the Lord; where we will be comforted and strengthened for the days ahead. Christ fill us with a spirit of resilience and return all our children to dreaming dreams, conquering challenges and succeeding against all odds. 

Stay in the struggle for justice and victory will follow.                                                                         

Thanks be to God,  

Pastor James Phillips
African Descent Coordinator