Change We Believed In

As appeared in the December, 2008 Newsletter, “The Works,” produced by “Greater Works Ministries” (GWMinistries.net) of which this author is a consecrated member.

Image design by Shepard Fairey based on the AP photo by Manny Garcia

Lebanese poet and devout Christian, Khalil Gibran, said that, “The lights of stars that were extinguished ages ago still reach us. So it is with great men who died centuries ago, but still reach us with the radiations of their person­alities.”  Also, the Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy stated that, “In our every deliberation, we must con­sider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.”  What has the continuity of civilization brought to us? What shall be our contribution to the continuum?

Our presidential elections last month have already changed the future for­ever, and we have not even sworn in a new president. Change itself was the theme of the winning candidate, Senator Barack Obama from Illinois, and for a man who campaigned on the issues that confront us rather than on who he is or what he is, he has already become more than the messenger for change, he has become the embodiment of it. When Senator Obama won the presidential election this year with the highest percentage of the popular vote received by any candidate in the last two decades, he did so by winning the votes of tens of millions of Americans who did not vote for him because of his race, and who did not vote for him in spite of it, they voted the man and his policies. By divine irony, when the collective conscious of a nation went beyond race in its biggest of decisions it opened the door toward removing the illusion of separation where we have allowed it to exist the most, on the basis of race.

What might this mean to the body of a nation? First, in our ability to leap beyond our own rate of progress, we may enhance our own realizations, such as, the realization that we as a nation are not separated from the events of our past, we are a product of them.  To some, the image of slavery is something that happened long ago and that ended in the middle of the 19th century. But our past not as far away as some may imagine.  In our church are elder members who can relate conversations they had with grandparents who were born into slavery. To speak to these elders is to be touched by those who knew slavery with only a single person in between. To others, the impact of slavery is more than a history lesson, it is an inherited horror carried deep in the collective unconscious of all descendants who carry the generational curses of unresolved injustices. Some horrors are too great to be contained in a single lifetime, hence they are passed on.

While some historic events are recent enough to remember, others are old enough to forget. All around the world today are people descended both from slaves, and from slave owners. Since the earliest records, occurrences of slavery are know from Sumeria, Ancient Egypt, Akkadia, Assyria, Ancient Greece, Ancient Persia, Rome, Islamic Caliphate, Africa, China, and debt-slavery and enslavement of prisoners of war have happened around the globe. In Europe medieval slavery was so common that the Roman Catholic Church continually had to fight against the exportation of Christian slaves to non-Christian lands. Even today untold acts of ritualized slavery are committed in parts of the world that remain hidden from the light of global scrutiny.  This makes what we do now all the more important to where we are going.

Where are we now?  What now is proved was once only imagined and hope is no longer audacious. Now strangers may meet as equal citizens in a land of the reborn.  All parents may now look upon the crib of their newborn child as it sleeps and say the words that some parents would not have dreamt of saying a mere handful of months ago, which are, “Maybe he (or she) will grow up to president one day.”  The man who we elected president is beyond racism himself, being half Kenyan and half European American, and while Senator Obama is not a descendant of American slavery, his beloved wife Michele is, and their children carry the legacy. Yet, president-elect Obama did not run on race, he ran on policy. Americans selected him, the world has embraced him, and America has already found a revived place in the world.  Justice anywhere is liberation to justice everywhere, and we will do justice to ourselves to accept a new future with an open mind and an open heart. We the people will choose our fate.

To the extent that we embrace our past, we know where we are today. To the extent we know where we are today, we can unite toward a common future. We do so not just as American citizens, and citizens of the world, we do so as the children of God and in the House of God there is only one race, the human race. In the unity of love, we are all one, and when we reach the salvation that we are seeking, we will find that the Kingdom we sought was around all along.  The greatest legacy of all that has been indelible throughout the ages is that God loves us all, every one. Love your neighbor, and you will love your creator.  If that seems a little easier to do now it is be­cause we have made it so. We have learned that if everybody has a little more love in their heart then the world can change.  You are everybody, and you have already changed the world. As we go forth in an ever-changing world let us give thanks to our Creator and stand as one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

by Brother K. David Katzmire